Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. If you have joint pain and stiffness, it could be arthritis. The two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you have osteoarthritis, your cartilage will start to break down. Since this is the tissue that covers the ends of your bones where they form a joint, you will have varying symptoms.
- Pain and stiffness in the affected joint or joints.
- Swelling and redness where the cartilage has broken down at the ends of bones.
- Stiffness in the affected joint and a decreased range of motion.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type and tends to worsen with age. Damage occurs through wear and tear. We all use our bodies in different ways but too much use of certain joints will cause them to wear out as the years go by. Enough damage can lead to bone grinding against bone which causes pain. This can happen slowly over the years or faster if you have some type of injury to the affected area.
Risk Factors for Arthritis
- Age. Your risk of having arthritis grows as you get older.
- Joint injury. Many of us play sports. What may seems like a minor injury when we are young can increase the risk for when we are older.
- Your weight. Carrying extra pounds and obesity puts increasing pressure on your joints. The knees, hips and spine are the most likely to be affected. Those who are obese are at an increased risk of having arthritis.
- Family history. Those with a family history can be more susceptible to the factors that cause arthritis. These are usually environmental factors and may only be considered for certain types.
Treatment depends upon which type you have. Analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications are the most common prescribed treatments. If you suspect you may have arthritis, speak with your healthcare provider in order to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Many people lead relatively pain free lives if their arthritis is treated properly.