There are a few health issues that are attributed to Arthritis, but though a lot of people end up getting it, they don’t actually know what it is or what brings it on.
Arthritis – What Is It, and What Are The Causes?
Arthritis simply means inflammation of a joint. The term Rheumatism is used when there is pain in the joints and other supporting tissues of the body e.g. muscles, bones and tendons. Arthralgia is used to mean pain in the joints alone.
The term arthritis is therefore the presence of arthralgia in combination with inflammation.
Types of arthritis
1. Rheumatoid arthritis
3. Infectious arthritis
4. Gouty arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease of connective tissues which is characterized by chronicity and periods of remissions and exacerbations.
It attacks mainly the peripheral joints (small joints); and the disease is systemic and causes inflammatory changes throughout the body’s connective tissues. It destroys joints internally hence the pain, stiffness and swelling associated with it. It is the most serious, painful and disabling of all forms of arthritis.
It most often affects the same joints on both sides of the body such as hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, feet and knees.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs in people of all socio-economic levels but usually higher among people of low socio-economic status. It occurs everywhere in the world but the incidence is higher in the temperate climates. It is more common in women than in men in the ratio of 3:1.
Age of onset is usually between 20-40 years, though it can occur at any age. It is not common in the tropics; it is the number one crippling disease in the United States of America.
Causes (aetiology) The cause of Rheumatoid arthritis is unknown.
Suggested causes however include:
i. Virus: Viruses have been suggested to be the cause of the abnormal autoimmune reaction which makes the body to produce antibodies against its own tissues.
ii. Autoimmune factor: There is a rheumatoid factor in the blood of patients with rheumatoid arthritis
iii.Heredity: The chances of children born by arthritic parents developing arthritis is higher than for those whose parents have not suffered from arthritis.
iv. Faulty adaptation: Arthritis has been linked to individual’s experience with stress.
Faulty adaptation to physical or psychic stress is therefore thought to be a factor in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Joseph Ezie Efoghor is a Registered Nurse with several years of practical experience. He has touched many lives through his style of writing. To get more of his articles, visit http://www.africannursesforum.com/blog