Arthritis is a term that means joint inflammation. Arthritis usually causes pain and stiffness. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis, affecting people from the very young to the elderly. The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis OA is a most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis begins with the breakdown of cartilage in joints, resulting in joint pain and stiffness. This cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the end of bones. Other symptoms can include swelling and tenderness in affected joints. Most commonly affecting middle-aged and elderly people, osteoarthritis can range from very mild to very severe.
Rheumatoid arthritis RA is a second most common form of arthritis in which the immune system attacks the interior lining of a joint, causing it to swell and become irritated or inflamed. Similar like osteoarthritis, it affects joints, causing pain and stiffness. This disease usually affects the wrist joints and the finger joints closest to the wrist. Other affected joints may include those of the neck, hips, knee, shoulder, elbows, feet and ankles. Rheumatoid arthritis commonly causes morning stiffness that lasts longer than twenty five minutes. It can also cause systemic symptoms such as fatigue, fever and weight loss.
There are several risk factors for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
1. Injury and trauma - repeated overuse or repetitive injury from activities like work, sport or an accident may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
2. Obesity - overweight can increase the risk of getting osteoarthritis, especially for women. Increased weight may put stress on your joints such as hips and knees.
3. Age and gender - arthritis occurs more often in women than in men and appears to increase with age. Arthritis is more common in women after age 45.
4. Family history - some families can have tendency to develop this disease. The gene that impacts the tendency for rheumatoid arthritis is more common in the families of people who have rheumatoid arthritis. But, not everyone who inherits the gene develops the disease.
Learn how to change your lifestyle starting today:
- lose weight to reduce strain on joints such as hip joints and knee. Eating sensibly can help reduce stress on the joints and as a result, lessen pain.
- rest can also improve the symptoms of arthritis. Rest includes both good sleep habits as well as daytime relaxation. Also, you can take hot baths and use heat packs to help relax your muscles.
- plan your day so you are busiest when your joints feel strongest. Do not overdo it, try to divide your day into shorter periods of activity.
- exercise regularly to help reduce pain and keep the muscles around joints strong. Exercise helps improve overall health by increasing energy levels, improving sleep, curbing depression and controlling weight. It is many exercises for people with arthritis, low impact exercises like walking, yoga, bicycling and etc. Very important to keep your muscles and tendons flexible is stretching. If you would like to start an exercises program, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor before you begin.
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