Arthritis is a medical condition that affects musculoskeletal system of the human body. It targets the joints of the musculoskeletal system. This medical condition has been attributed to disability of elderly persons. It is very common in industrialized nations targeting aged persons. Basically, arthritis is a combination of diseases. Generally, it covers more than one hundred medical conditions. It also appears in different forms with osteoarthritis being one of the most common forms in elderly persons. There are also forms of arthritis that affect individuals at a very tender age. Today, there are many people suffering from arthritis. Some have pain on the joints but they do not know it is arthritis until when their condition worsens.
Causes of Arthritis
Determining what could be the cause of arthritis in a patient can be challenging. This is because there are many factors that can lead to development of this medical condition in an individual. Nevertheless, there are some factors that have been identified as the major causes of this medical condition. They include the following;
- Genetics: Genetics is one of the major causes of arthritis. However, it is not clear to what extent heredity factors can cause this medical condition. Nevertheless, studies have revealed that to some extent, variation in genetic factors contributes to arthritis.
- Weight: Damage on the joints is partly responsible for this medical condition. This damage can result from excessive body weight. Therefore, a large portion of human population with arthritis that affects the knees and hips is a result of body weight. These joints are easily worn out when compared to others in the body.
- Age: Cartilage gets more brittle as an individual age. The body's capacity to repair them also decreases as people age. Therefore, aged persons are more likely to develop this condition when compared to young people.
- Injury: People who may have had injuries in the past are more likely to develop arthritis. Plateau fracture is one of the major injuries that can cause arthritis.
- Infection or illness: Arthritis has been popular among individuals who have had gout episodes or different forms of joint infections in the past.
- High-level sports: Some sports may also cause this medical condition. However, it is not apparent what level of sporting activities can cause this condition.
- Occupational hazards: There are occupations that expose workers to more risks of developing this medical condition. These are jobs such as heavy construction and line workers jobs.
Symptoms of Arthritis
There are different symptoms of this medical condition. They vary depending on the form of arthritis that one has:
- Osteoarthritis: This form has symptoms that are mild at the start. However, they become severe with time. The patient starts by experiencing pain in the joints while performing a physical activity. The pain may be experienced during or after the activity. There is tenderness on the joint each time pressure is exerted on the joint. Stiffness is experienced every morning. The joint eventually lose flexibility and one find using the affected joint hard. Bone spurs or hard lumps may be seen around the affected joint. Swelling may also be seen on the joint affected by the disease. In most cases, these symptoms will be noticed on smaller joints first. These starts from the wrists, hands, ankles and eventually to the elbows, hips, knees, shoulders, neck, hips and the jaws.
- Infectious arthritis: When infected by this form of arthritis, the experiences fever swelling and inflammation on the joint. There are also sharp instances of pain and tenderness on the infected joint. In this form of arthritis symptoms can be linked to previous injuries or even a different injury. Shoulder, knees, wrist, fingers and elbow are the mostly affected areas by this form of arthritis.
- Juvenile rheumatoid: In this form of arthritis, patient is usually a child. Intermittent fever is experienced mostly during the evening hours. It disappears suddenly without any treatment. However, appetite of the patient deteriorates and eventually they start losing weight. Blotchy rashes may be seen on the legs and arms. There are also cases of anemia in children with this medical condition. Sore wrist, knee or finger and also limping are common on children with this form of arthritis. Sometimes, the affected joint will swell and appear larger than usual. Some children gets a stiff neck or hips and even other joints.
Arthritis Home Remedies
There are different remedies for arthritis. A remedy may be suitable for one patient and unsuitable for another. If you follow the right advice you will find it easy to keep arthritis at bay. Here are several home remedies you may find useful. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Silicon- Silicon has been found to help patients of arthritis deal with their condition effectively in a short period of time. This mineral nourishes joint cartilages to prevent friction which causes damage to cartilage. Silicon is also effective in assisting the growth of body tissues. By taking a considerable amount of silicon everyday will help you keep your bones healthy. You will also keep bone spurs away.
- Vegetables- Research has shown that raw vegetables and fruits are essential for treating arthritis. Vegetarian diet such as eggs, milk, and other dairy products apart from meat is effective in treating this condition.
Some people link arthritis to sensitivities and allergies caused by certain foods such as wheat, dairy products, and more. If you believe that your arthritis condition is caused by certain foods, then the only option is to eliminate them from your diet immediately.
- Alfalfa- This is a traditional remedy for many health complications including arthritis. It is commonly found in Appalachia. Many people use it to prepare herbal tea with numerous nutritive minerals. However, it is advisable that you avoid taking alfalfa powder since it can cause pain in the joints. Studies have shown that animals that consume too much alfalfa are likely to develop systemic lupus. Drink one quart of alfalfa tea everyday for two weeks.
- Angelica- This herb is commonly found in Europe where it has been in use since antiquity. Many people use it to treat arthritis and other serious medical complications. Research also shows that this herb contains antispasmodic constituents that help in relaxing body muscles. It also has anodyne constituents that are essential in relieving pain.
Diet for Arthritis
Proper dietary is very important for arthritis patients. Basically, studies revel that a balanced diet gives a patient essential nutrients as wells as ensuring that they have healthy body weight. A balanced diet that is inclusive of four main food groups helps in promoting the overall health of the patient. These foods are;
- Dairy and milk products
- Fruits and vegetables
- Fish, poultry and lean meat
- Cereals and bread
Someone suffering from Arthritis should always strive to restrict fat, sugar and salt amount in their diet. Cereals, breads vegetables and fruits should be taken in larger amounts. Adequate supply of calcium is also important because it ensure development of strong bones and also offer the body protection against osteoporosis.
One of the things many doctors and dietitians advice their patients to do is to ensure that fatty foods are kept at their maximum. This helps them in reducing sugar levels in the blood. It also helps in maintaining the right body weight. Omega 3 fatty acids are also very essential because they help in relieving pain that may result from some symptoms. Basically, best diet for any arthritis should comprise of fruits and proteins forming the largest part of their meal.
Prevention of Arthritis
Arthritis is a medical condition that can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. This is a serious health condition that many individuals are willing to do anything to avoid. It can be prevented through the following;
- Eating well-balanced and healthy diet. This helps an individual retain the recommended body weight. Individuals with excessive body weight are at a greater risk of contracting arthritis.
- Minerals and vitamin supplements: Having inadequate amounts of vitamin D in the body lowers the amount of calcium that the body is capable of absorbing. When this is combined with the decreasing amounts of calcium in the body of aging persons, it increases their chances of developing this medical condition.
- Regular exercise: Exercising on regular basis ensures strengthening of muscles surrounding joints. It also increases bone density. In addition, exercising may reduce tear and wear on the joints. This helps in preventing possible injuries on the joints which increases chances of developing arthritis.
- Limiting alcohol and smoking: This is very important because smoking and excessive alcohol consumption weakens bone's structure. This exposes you to greater risks of developing fractures.
- Hormone replacement: There are women who develop this medical condition as a result of losing hormones during post and pre-menopausal years. This is the period when there is no more production of estrogen by the ovaries. This hormone is very essential for proper levels of bone mass and calcium. Many women suffer arthritis as a result of lowered levels of estrogen in the body.
The best way of preventing development of arthritis is through adoption of a healthy lifestyle. Be keen on what you eat and have a regular exercising routine.
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