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5 important facts about Arthritis

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  1. Arthritis is a condition affect the joints of the body.

Arthritis is a condition in which there is inflammation of a joint. Different types of arthritis can affect different joints : it can be one joint or it can be multiple joints, it is all based on the progression of the type of arthritis.

  1. Arthritis is not always related to age.

When you hear the word arthritis, you typically think of the older generation and their slow walking. But in actuality, that is only one category of arthritis. Other types of arthritis can affect anyone at any age and at any joint. Some types of arthritis are more genetic and some types of arthritis come with age or with injury.

  1. Why does arthritis happen to those who have aged?

Osteoarthritis is the arthritis that we all are familiar with. It is the only that is associated with age. Osteoarthritis is a wear-and-tear condition : which means that the more use that we get out of a joint, the more damage it will have to endure.

Osteoarthritis, in a medical sense, means that the space between the joints (which contains fluid) is getting thinner and thinner, till at one point : the two bones actually touch each other.

Remember, a joint is a connection between two bones, and those two bones are never supposed to actually touch each other. Therefore, that is why we have fluid (which acts like a lubricant) and a space between the two bones to facilitate movement. In osteoarthritis, the two bones scrape off of one another with every movement, causing inflammation and ultimately pain.

  1. What about arthritis in the younger age group?

Rheumatoid arthritis is the arthritis that can affect anyone at any age, and has a strong genetic disposition. Rheumatoid arthritis, unlike osteoarthritis, is not a wear-and-tear condition. It is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune means that your body is actually attacking its own cells and tissue. Therefore with rheumatoid arthritis, the body actually attacks its own joints : which causes similar symptoms to osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition (it will last a lifetime) and therefore special medication and treatment is required for these patients. But with proper therapy and treatment, patients who have rheumatoid arthritis live their lives normally as well.

  1. Arthritis shows up differently in different groups of people.

The general symptoms of arthritis include pain, redness, swelling, loss of mobility over the joint.

It is important to note that osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have different symptoms. Although both present with the symptoms mentioned above, there are other symptoms that differentiate between the two.

For example, osteoarthritis is pain (upon the joint) that progresses throughout the day and it worsens. However, rheumatoid arthritis is pain that occurs in the morning, but subsides throughout the day.

In osteoarthritis, the bigger and more used joints are affected : like the knee or the hip. Whereas in rheumatoid arthritis, the joints that are affected are more of the small joints in the fingers/toes and hands/feet and it may progress up to the elbow, ankle, knee etc.

  1. Is it dangerous to have arthritis?

Arthritis, inflammation, joints : all these words sound a little scary and threatening but do not think of it like that. Must cases of arthritis are not as scary as they sound, and it can be taken care of easily with medications and improved with physiotherapy.

 

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Article is written by: 

Fatin Najwa binti Daud, is a medical student studying at IMU Malaysia. She is a freelance writer of this blog at Zaahara. Interests include music, art, sports and travel.

-Photos are taken from google images

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