Arthritis – Causes and Symptoms of Arthritis

Arthritis is a chronic inflammation that affects the small joints in your hands and feet. It affects the lining of your joints causing painful swelling that results in bone erosion and joint deformity. The symptoms include stifness, pain and swelling of the joint. The condition may affect one or several joints through out the body. It is a leading cause of disability in those over the age of 60 and about 37 million people in the US suffer from some form of arthritis.

Causes of Arthritis

Possible causes of arthritis include:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is associated with cartilage damage due to excess weight, stresses the joints because of certain sports, injury and work. Genetics and age factors is regarded as two of the causes for osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is an autoimmune disorder and develops as the immune system malfunctions and attacks the tissues.
  • Gout: This produces excess of uric acid and this acid gets accumulated in the body and crystals are deposited in the joints.
  • Reactive arthritis: It causes joints to become inflammed because of an infection that triggers the immune system.

Other factors

Factors that increase your risk of arthritis include:

  • Sex: Women are more prone to develop arthritis than man.
  • Age: It can occur at any age but more common in older people above 60 years.
  • Family history: If any of your family member is suffering from arthritis, you are at higher risk of this disease.
  • Smoking: Smoking cigarettes may increase the risk of arthritis. If you quit, then there are chances that you can reduce the risk.

Symptoms of arthritis

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Joint pain can be felt while walking, standing or bearing any weight
  • Limited movement due to the damage of healthy tissues
  • Swelling and redness of joints
  • Glands can become tender and hard
  • Patient feels weak, tired and lacks energy
  • Stiffness of the joints
  • Rigidity of the muscles and joints
  • Joint malformation
  • Pain, tingling sensation and numbness in the hands and wrist
  • Rashes or itching
  • Anemia
  • Flaking skin patches on the body and scalp
  • Constipation
  • Breathing difficulty is seen very rarely in very severe cases
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Severe pain and redness of the eye
  • Swelling of the toes
  • Lifting of finger nails and eyes
  • Morning stiffness that may last for hours

When to see your doctor?

If you have persistent discomfort and swelling in joints on both the side of your body and you notice other symptoms make an appointment with your doctor immediately for treatment.

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