Thursday, September 24, 2020

Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment


Arthritis is a general name given to over a 100 types of conditions affecting, joints, muscles and connective tissue. There are two main forms of arthritis; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common, and is a degenerative disease that occurs when the cartilage between joints breaks down. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints.

Arthritis is as old as the dinosaurs, literally. Evidence of ankle arthritis has been found in dinosaur fossils. The many forms of arthritis have plagues mankind for centuries, with the earliest traces being discovered in skeletal remains of Native Americans, dating back 4500 years.

The one thing all forms of arthritis have in common is pain. It is often described as the sensation of having “broken glass in my joints”. Osteoarthritis is normally localised to one area in the body initially. It often occurs in the knees, hips, hips and fingers. Rheumatoid may occur in many different parts of the body at the same time.

Arthritis Symptoms

  • Pain or swelling in joints that lasts for longer than 2 weeks
  • Limited range of movement across a joint

Rheumatic forms:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling unwell

Arthritis Risk Factors

  • Trauma to a joint, i.e. infection or injury
  • Smokers are up to 4 times as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis
  • Some sports accelerate wear and tear on joints, e.g. long distance running
  • Obesity
  • Sex- women are more likely to develop arthritis than men
  • Age- likelihood of developing arthritis increases with age
  • Family history- arthritis does seem to run in families, suggesting a genetic factor

Arthritis Treatment

  • Exercise- gentle exercise and stretching to keep the joints supple and lubricated. Strong muscles help keep the joint stable
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) e.g. ibuprophen and aspirin
  • Nutritional supplements- glucocasamine is sulphur derived compound that has gained popularity in recent years due to its reputed ability to alleviate the symptoms associated with arthritis. Its potency may be enhanced when taken in conjunction with fish oils.
  • Rest- Especially for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, rest is critical during periods of intense flare ups. Some people find using a splint to support the joint keeps it stable and reduces swelling, and thereby helps it to recover.

It has been suggested that diet may play a role in easing symptoms of both major forms of arthritis. However there seems little evidence to support this outside of the addition of fish oils, which may assist in keeping joints lubricated. Some people feel that changes in weather make their arthritis “flare up”, and in such cases moving to a more pleasant climate may be beneficial. There is no evidence to support the idea that climate can influence the speed of progression of symptoms, it may merely make the pre existing symptoms more tolerable.

Arthritic conditions are an inevitable consequence of ageing. The longer we live the greater the likelihood of developing one form or another. However, through the application of a healthy lifestyle the wear and tear on joints can be minimised.


  1. Chi

    Who said time flies like an arrow? For the people of over forty has also come the new millenium. Everyday they feel getting old with wrinkles on the face, and degenerative arthritis causing the knees sore.
    With stiffened fingers in the morning and aching knees when walking, people go to clinic; doctor there, as is often the case, calls it degenerative arthritis. More than that, many doctors blames the causes of it on aging, which make the patients feeling sadder.

    Oriental medicine concludes that there are two organs related to degenerative arthritis; kidney and liver. The notion of two organs is somewhat different between oriental and western medicine. The orient says that the two organs do more functions than does each status as an human organ; sinews-bone frames as well as urinary and reproduction are also controlled by the twos. It can be inferred from above that organ, thought to usually be congenital, can be changed by healthcare.

    Overwork is the archenemy to liver and kidney. No one wants to make his or her body tired. In terms of orient physiology, enhancing the muscle and bone frame can ameliorate the two organs because they are closely interrelated. Especially, building muscular strength on the lower part of the body can directly keep the degenerative arthritis off. By the same toke, if the knees are excessively loaded, it would trigger the disease.

    In the past, it resulted from improperly dietary; nowadays, obesity.
    What makes matters worse is that people doesn’t seem to put much priority on weak body condition itself; they’re only going on a diet.
    Excessive and abrupt exercise should be avoided; do it light, but gradually. Go to swim or do exercise for hardening the lower body with the soles of feet off the ground.

Medically trained in the UK. Writes on the subjects of injuries, healthcare and medicine. Contact me

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