Common Conditions - Arthritis
Arthritis represents inflammation of joints or breakdown of the cartilage cushion present between two bones. The cartilage helps in smooth movement of joints while performing actions such as walking, running, etc. However in people suffering from arthritis the inflammation or the damage to the cartilage cushion causes the bones to rub against each other. This causes severe pain, swelling, and stiffness. Although arthritis commonly occurs among people aged 65 years or older, it is possible that younger people, including children, can be affected.
Types of Arthritis
Broadly, arthritis is a complex family of musculoskeletal disorders, consisting of different conditions that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage, and other connective tissues. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other types include juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia. Let us try to understand each type one by one.
Osteoarthritis is one of the oldest and most common forms of arthritis. It is a chronic condition characterized by breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. The loss of cushioning effect causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain, and loss of movement in the joint.
The increasing age is major risk factor for development of osteoarthritis. As the person ages, the joints wear out over time from use. Injury to a joint may also lead to this type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs more commonly in joints of knees, hips and hands.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis. This type of arthritis occurs when the immune system, which normally protects the body from infection, attacks the body’s tissues (autoimmune condition). As a result of the attack, fluid builds up in the joints. This causes pain and inflammation that may affect other parts of the body, such as the heart, muscles, blood vessels, nerves and eyes.
Juvenile arthritis is a term used to describe autoimmune and inflammatory arthritic conditions that can develop in children aged 16 and younger. Although the term arthritis refers to the inflammation of joints, juvenile arthritis can involve the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract as well. The most common type of juvenile arthritis is juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), which is characterized by initial swelling in one or more joints that lasts for at least six weeks.
The scientists believe that combination of genes a child receives from family members may cause the onset of juvenile arthritis, which is then triggered by other factors.