Arthritis: Causes, Common Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment

Digital Health
2 min read
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12 October is recognised as world arthritis day, and it is celebrated every year across the world to raise awareness about the rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs), its treatment and prevention.

People suffer from this painful disease since they are unaware of it or the treatment options.

According to WHO, around 15 percent of the older population gets affected by it. The symptoms are usually more prevalent in the elderly.

Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that mainly affects the joints and the surrounding tissue.

Te onset of arthritis is typically marked by tenderness and stiffness that worsens with age. There are two main types of arthritis— rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Let's get to know about arthritis in detail along with its symptoms, causes and treatment.


Arthritis: Causes

Osteoarthritis is caused due to the tear and damage to the cartilage that is a thick, slick coating between the joints or the end of the bones.

Cartilage acts as a cushion between the two bones and promotes frictionless movement.

The damage can lead to direct rub between the joints due to an infection, injury or age and can lead to immense pain during movement.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system destroys the joint capsule which is a tough membrane enclosing the joints.

The damage can lead to the destruction of the cartilage and bones within the joints resulting in swelling and inflammation.

Arthritis: Symptoms

The symptoms of arthritis worsens with age. It can be managed and slowed down by maintaining a healthy weight , staying active and certain treatments. Few symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Stiffness due to lack of frequent movement

  • Painful joints while moving

  • Grating of joints characterised by popping and crackling

  • A lack of flexibility

  • Hard lumps of bone known as bone spurs

  • Swelling of the sensitive tissues around the joints

Arthritis: Treatment 

Arthritis can be treated with the help of a surgery, therapy, medications or combination of all three.

  • Medicines or ointments with NSAIDs may reduce the swelling or the inflammation but may cause irritation in the stomach and lead to higher risks of strokes and heart diseases.

  • DMARDs may help slower the harm caused by rheumatoid arthritis and prevent the joints from permanent damage.

  • Therapies include a bunch of massages and exercises under the guidance of a professional or a doctor can help promote movement and strengthen muscles and joints.

  • Surgeries include replacement of joints with the artificial one, repair of joints by smoothening it to avoid the friction between the ends of bones and fusion in which the smaller joints like fingers and wrists are operated, turning them into one rigid bone.

Arthritis: Risk Factors

According to the doctors at Mayo Clinic, USA, a few subsets of people are at a higher risk of developing arthritis.

  • Women are more prone to the risk of arthritis

  • People of older age are more at risk of suffering from arthritis

  • Overweight people are at increased risk of arthritis. More the weight, the greater the pressure on the joints

  • A sportsperson has higher risk of suffering fro osteoarthritis

  • People with bone injuries

  • Diabetic people

  • People with a genetic disposition for arthritis

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