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What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a common condition that leads to damage of joints. When arthritis is severe, joint motion can cause significant pain. Treatment of arthritis depends on the type and severity of the problem.

What causes arthritis?

Determining the cause of arthritis can be difficult, because often several factors contribute to an individual developing this common problem.

Some of the risk factors that can cause arthritis include:

• Genetics

Exactly how much heredity or genetics contributes to the cause of arthritis is not well understood. However, there are likely genetic variations that can contribute to the cause of arthritis.

• Age

Cartilage becomes more brittle with age and has less of a capacity to repair itself. As people grow older they are more likely to develop arthritis.

• Weight

Because joint damage is partly dependent on the load the joint has to support, excess body weight can lead to arthritis. This is especially true of the hips and knees that can be worn quickly in heavier patients.

• Previous Injury

Joint damage can cause irregularities in the normal smooth joint surface. Previous major injuries can be part of the cause of arthritis. An example of an injury leading to arthritis is a tibial plateau fracture, where the broken area of bone enters the cartilage of the knee joint.

• Occupational Hazards

Workers in some specific occupations seem to have a higher risk of developing arthritis than other jobs. These are primarily high demand jobs such as assembly line workers and heavy construction.

Some High-Level Sports

It is difficult to determine how much sports participation contributes to development of arthritis. Certainly, sports participation can lead to joint injury and subsequent arthritis. However, the benefits of activity likely outweigh any risk of arthritis.

Illness or Infection

People who experience a joint infection (septic joint), multiple episodes of gout, or other medical conditions, can develop arthritis of the joint

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, it is important to learn all that you can about the disease. Start building your understanding of arthritis with the basic facts. Here are 10 things you should know about arthritis.

1 - Arthritis is not a single disease.

Many people speak of arthritis as if it were a single disease. Actually, there are over 200 types of arthritis and related rheumatic conditions. It is important to be accurately diagnosed, know your type of arthritis, and begin an appropriate treatment course.

2 - There is no known cure for arthritis but there are many treatment options.

Though some forms of arthritis, like Lyme arthritis, may be curable with antibiotics, there is no single medication or treatment that cures most forms of arthritis. Treatment options can help manage pain, control arthritis symptoms, and reduce joint damage or deformity.

3 - There are many myths and misconceptions about arthritis.

Have you heard that arthritis only affects old people?

Not true. Did you know that arthritis causes only minor aches and pains? Not true. Common forms of arthritis can be cured by changes in your diet? While rare forms of arthritis, such as arthropathy associated with Celiac disease, can effectively be cured with a gluten-free diet, this claim is inapplicable to the vast majority of cases. These and several other examples of myths and misconceptions about arthritis, perpetuated by the spread of inaccurate information, can keep a person from managing the disease properly.

4 - A rheumatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating arthritis and other rheumatic conditions.

5 - Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent joint deformity and disability.

Since there are various types of arthritis and many treatment options, it is important to be properly diagnosed and treated early in the course of the disease. Delaying diagnosis and treatment allows arthritis symptoms to worsen. The best chance for preventing joint deformity and disability begins with early diagnosis and treatment.

6 - You may have to try several treatment options before finding the most optimal treatment plan for you.

There are two important points to remember about arthritis treatment. Patients vary in their response to arthritis medications or other arthritis treatments. What works for one person may not work for another. Also, to find the safest and most effective medication or combination of medications, you'll have to weigh the benefits versus the risks.

7 - A healthy lifestyle and good habits may positively impact the course of arthritis.

Regular exercise, maintaining ideal weight, stress reduction, being a non-smoker and getting good sleep are part of better living with arthritis. Learn why lifestyle is important.

8 - Besides the physical limitations imposed by arthritis, living with chronic pain can have emotional consequences.

9- Arthritis can cause functional limitations which interfere with activities of daily living.

According to the CDC, more than 42% (21.1 million) of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis report arthritis-attributable activity limitations. Some of the activity limitations are vital activities of daily living such as bending, stooping, walking and climbing stairs. Consequently, cleaning, cooking, personal hygiene and other daily activities.

10- Arthritis patient needs regular follow up with rheumatologist.

Information on Paediatric Rheumatic Diseases