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Understanding Arthritis and Its Risk Factors

by Daniel Pauly

Arthritis is an age-related medical condition affecting close to 54 million adults in the United States. People living with arthritis may not be as productive since engaging in usual activities such as walking and performing house chores may result in pain and discomfort. The common symptoms of arthritis in El Centro are pain and stiffness in the joints, which progress with age. The causes of this condition vary depending on the type of arthritis one may have. Early medical intervention may help improve joint function and prevent chronic pain. Your specialist at Prabhdeep Singh, MD, may conduct various diagnostic tests to determine the type of arthritis you may have and personalize a treatment plan to improve your condition.

What are the different types of arthritis?

Arthritis may occur in different forms. The most common types being:

Osteoarthritis

The cartilage serves different functions, including smooth movement and shock absorption. It allows bones to glide over each other without causing friction. The cartilage also cushions the bones against the impact that may result from weight-bearing activities, including running. Osteoarthritis causes wear and tear, which eventually damages the cartilage. Much wear to the cartilage can cause bones to rub and grind on each other upon movement, which may be a source of pain. The wear and tear may gradually develop over the years or could occur due to a joint injury. Osteoarthritis may also affect the surrounding connective tissues that hold the joints together.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis may affect another body area besides your joints, including the lungs, skin, eyes, and blood vessels. This inflammatory disorder occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the synovial membrane in your joints. Unlike osteoarthritis, which damages the cartilage, rheumatoid arthritis causes a painful swelling in the lining of your joints. Without early medical treatment, this condition can damage the bones and cause bone deformity.

Risk factors for arthritis

Old age

Arthritis is more common in adults between the ages of 40 and 50 years than teenagers and children. Old age is a significant factor for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis since the cartilage naturally gets brittle as you advance in age. Although this condition is more common in adults, symptoms should be assessed in people of all ages as children may also develop arthritis.

Infection

Medical problems such as septic joints may put you at risk for arthritis. Bacterial or viral infections in your joints may damage the cartilage or form skin lesions. Your chances of arthritis may also be higher if you develop recurring episodes of gout and staph infection around a joint.

Obesity

Excess body weight causes stress to the joints in your body, especially in the hips and knees. Obesity may cause pain, inflammation and gradually wear out the joints. Regular physical exercise may help obese individuals lose extra weight and maintain a healthy body mass index.

Sporting activities

Athletes who participate in long-distance running are prone to develop arthritis as regular movement between joints causes wearing. However, routine exercises such as stretching strengthen the muscle structure and may minimize the symptoms of arthritis.

Multiple factors contribute to the development of arthritis. To learn more about this condition’s diagnosis and treatment methods, reserve a session with your specialist at Prabhdeep Singh, MD.