Arthritis by Matt Oslin

Arthritis is the most common chronic disease. Arthritis is the inflamation in joints. Joints are the points in your body where bones meet together. Elbows, knees, and ankles are some examples of joints.

Arthritis is actually not one single disease. It includes:
  • Osteoarthritis -- the most common form of arthritis that occurs when the joint cartilage (pads) wear out
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis -- common among women; symptoms include tired stiffness in joints and aching all over the body
  • Infectious Arthritis -- occurs when pathogens (germs) invade joints
  • Gout Psuedogout -- caused by body materials filling joints
  • Anklosing Spondylitis -- characterized by stiffness in the spine
Some diseases actually can cause arthritis like:
  • Reiter's Syndrome
  • Psoriasis
  • Lupus

Different types of arthritis have many different symptoms. General symptoms of arthritis are:
  • Pain in joints
  • Inflammation in joints
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Heat and redness in joints

Certain behaviors or environmental factors can put some people at more risk of getting arthritis.
  • Lack of exercise and obesity -- Active people are less likely to get arthritis than inactive people. Also, if an active person were to get arthritis it would be easier to treat.
  • Injuries -- Injuries may directly cause arthritis or increase a person's risk of getting arthritis in the same place as the injury later on.
  • Infection -- An infection may lead to infectious arthritis
  • Metabolic disorder -- a metabolic disorder may increase a person's risk of getting certain types of arthritis
  • Family history -- individuals with a family history of arthritis are more likely to get arthritis
  • Increased age -- some forms of arthritis are more common among older people
Arthritis affects 3 million people in the U.S., which is about 10% of the total population. One in five adults will have some form of arthritis. Although some people are more likely to get arthritis, anyone can get it. Depending on the type of arthritis, a person's age or sex can increase the risk of certain forms of arthritis. Arthritis generally affects women more. Some types of arthritis, however, stay within families.

The most general ways to prevent arthritis are to stay active, maintain a healthy weight, and to protect against injuries.

Once a person has arthritis, it can be treated in many ways.
  • Replacement -- some cases require the joint to be replaced; this is most commonly used for arthritis in the hips
  • Medication -- medications like asprin may be prescribed to patients with arthritis; other drugs such as nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs may be used
  • Antibiotics -- may be prescribed against infectious arthritis
  • Surgery -- various surgeries may have to be preformed in certain cases

Diet, exercise, and pain relievers can help people manage arthritis.