Arthritis: Meaning, Causes & Symptoms

Arthritis means inflammation of the joint. The word is derived from greek words : athron, which means joints; and itis  meaning inflammation. It is a chronic disease  process.

There are over a hundred forms of arthritis. It can be classified into three main categories which may be, rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Gout.

Rheumatoid arthritis normally affects, knees, toes , small finger joints, wrists . All parts of the body can be a target.

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint , but commonly occurs on knees, spine , hips and  feet.

Gout usually occur in  lower limbs and first target the big toes.

Arthritis can  affect both men and women of all age groups. However, women are three times more vulnerable than men. About 80% of rheumatoid arthritis patients are within  age group  of 35 to 50.  About 65% of osteoarthritis patients are over the age of 65.

Symptoms   common to all forms of arthritis are:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness and pain
  • Redness

The pain increases after exercise.

Rheumatoid arthritis is also called ‘cooked food disease’. it normally develops gradually over several months and there is a persistent pain and stiffness in  one or more joints. Ultimately, the whole body is affected.

Symptoms are: Anaemia , constipation, colitis and defamed  hands and feet.

 Causes of arthritis are:

Arthritis is a result of  damage to joint parts. The causes of arthritis may vary , but  the most common causes are:  hereditary , age, infections, deficiency of organic sodium  and minerals,  mental  or physical strain, obesity, cold weather,  excessive use of rich foods.

Different arthritis is caused due to damage to different parts of the joint.

Gout is caused  by abnormal production of uric acid. When the body produces excess uric acid , it get deposited in the form of needle like crystals  in the joints  instead being excreted  through the urine. These crystals cause friction  and severe pain in the joints when moved.

Rheumatoid arthritis  sets off  when the synovial membrane ( this helps the smooth movement of the joints) becomes inflamed and stiff. Construction workers, dancers, ballerinas  and weight lifters  are often its victims due to high strain on the joints in these professions.

Osteoarthritis  involves damage  and wear and tear  to the cartilage . normally age and  genetic are factors in break down of  the cartilage. Almost every one over the age of sixty suffer from  this form of arthritis to some extent.