Arthritis (joint inflammation) is a disease that involves inflammation of one or more joints.
Joint inflammation is the body's reaction to various disease processes. These include mechanical injury to a joint (including fracture), the presence of an infection (usually caused by bacteria or viruses), an attack on the joints by the body itself (an autoimmune disease), or accumulated wear and tear on joints.Often, the inflammation goes away after the injury has healed, the disease is treated, or the infection has been cleared by the immune system, sometimes with the help of antibiotics.
With some injuries and diseases, the inflammation does not go away or destruction results in long-term pain and deformity. This is considered arthritis. There are more than 100 kinds of arthritis with many different possible causes.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. This arthritis often results from years of accumulated wear and tear on joints, and tends to occur in the elderly in hips, knees, and finger joints
Gout, a form of acute arthritis is caused by the formation of crystals in the joints with subsequent inflammation.
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that causes a so-called infectious arthritis.
Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma, can cause arthritis as well. When the immune system goes down, these diseases occupy our body thus attacking healthy part of the body including joints.
Arthritis can occur in males and females of all ages particularly in people over 55 years of age. Women are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis.
Some of the diseases that cause arthritis include:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (in adults)
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (in children)
- Psoriasis (psoriatic arthritis)
- Fungal infections such as blastomycosis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Reiter's syndrome/Reactive arthritis
- Septic arthritis
- Adult Still's disease
- Tertiary Lyme disease (the late stage)
- Tuberculosis (tuberculous arthritis)
- Viral infections (viral arthritis)
- Gonorrhea (gonococcal arthritis)
- Other bacterial infections (non-gonococcal bacterial arthritis)
Arthritis is caused by a variety of factors that includes
- Joint instability
- Age-related changes
- Altered biochemistry
- Hormonal factors
- Genetic predisposition
- Environmental factors
- Psychological factors
- Stress - Stress disrupts the body's hormonal balance. Stress- induced cortisone deficiency can be a factor in some forms of arthritis.
- Arthritis And Dental Amalgams - Arthritic symptoms are often found to be associated with mercury dental amalgams. It is
found that once the amalgams are removed, the symptoms of arthritis usually disappear.
Patients with arthritis may suffer from the following symptoms:
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling
- Early morning stiffness
- Warmth around a joint
- Redness of the skin around a joint
- Reduced ability to move the joint
- Unexplained weight loss, fever, or weakness that occurs with joint pain
Most cases are not preventable. One has to check whether they have a family history of arthritis-related conditions. Early diagnose may help prevent arthritis.
Scientists believe that osteoarthritis may develop in some people if they abuse their joints (injure them many times or over-use them while injured). Excess weight also increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the knees, and possibly in the hips and hands. Women are at special risk for this. In men, being overweight increases the risk for developing gout, a form of acute arthritis. Maintain your recommended weight, particularly as you get older.