Some people may assume that the pain and swelling around their joints, knees, ankles, or hands aren’t caused by an illness. However, these signs can be an early warning of more severe conditions. Arthritis is an illness that affects the musculoskeletal system and is characterized by the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. Those who have arthritis will experience joint pain, stiffness, or limited range of motion in certain parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the two most prevalent types of disease.
While this illness’ root cause cannot be attributed to one reason, certain factors may influence this condition’s development. Here are five common causes that may lead to arthritis:
One major factor that increases the risk of arthritis is old age. A study conducted from 2013–2015 in the United States showed that only 7.1% of people aged below 44 years old are diagnosed with arthritis, while 49.6% of people aged 65 years and older develop some form of arthritis. Joints and tissues become brittle with age, causing older adults to develop certain types of disease. The joints of older people no longer have the capacity to repair themselves quickly, which leads to stiffness and restricted movement.
Inflammation of the joints caused by certain infections or autoimmune responses can also lead to arthritis. The immune system can attack the synovium or the joints’ lining, resulting in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Symptoms of RA include swelling and pain and restricted motion of one or more body parts.
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants can attack the joints in the hands, knees, or ankles. The eyes, lungs, and parts of the circulatory system can also be affected by RA.
Septic arthritis is an infection that occurs when bacteria or viruses penetrate the fluid surrounding the joints. An attack leads to the deterioration of cartilage and the appearance of skin lesions surrounding the joint and synovial membrane.
Those who develop arthritis due to infections can take antibiotics and medicine that can treat rheumatoid arthritis. The treatments available will help reduce the joint’s inflammation and eliminate the bacteria that infect the affected body part.
Genetic history can play a role in how susceptible an individual is to types of joint problems. Individuals who have a family member with some form of arthritis may also develop it later in life.
Specific forms of genetic markers are linked to the development of arthritis, such as HLA-B27 and HLA-DR4. These gene variations play roles in the immune system. Some inherited genes can be associated with chronic inflammation, such as TRAF and C5.
Certain forms of arthritis can occur based on how the immune system functions. Gene variations that affect immune responses can influence if a person will develop arthritis.
Conditions like osteoarthritis can be more prevalent for those with a family member who has the same illness. The genes that influence osteoarthritis development are usually in charge of forming and maintaining bones and cartilages. However, it is essential to note that genetics can only impact vulnerability to the disease, not directly cause it.
Arthritis can also be triggered by overfatigue and stress. Cytokines, which are chemical molecules responsible for inflammation, can make arthritis worse. When the body undergoes extreme stress, it produces more of this molecule, causing the joints’ inflammation to intensify.
Those who have rheumatoid arthritis may experience heightened pain and inflammation due to fatigue and stress.
Certain activities can lead to arthritis, such as high-level and contact sports. These actions involve repetitive movement of the knees or joints. Tasks that place constant stress on a joint such as running, or carrying heavy items, can also lead people to develop a greater risk of arthritis.
However, regular exercise and other physical activities can help minimize arthritis symptoms by developing the joint’s muscular structure, giving it better support.
Habits such as smoking cigarettes can also increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Those genetically predisposed to getting arthritis may worsen their condition by smoking since it triggers the immune system to function poorly.
The development and progression of arthritis can be attributed to several factors. It can be due to infection, old age, family history, or lifestyle. While there is no guarantee that you can prevent arthritis, treatments can help slow the progression and minimize the symptoms.
Arthritis can be dangerous if not addressed early. It can lead to total disability of particular body parts if left untreated. The earlier you diagnose your condition, the better you’ll be able to cope with the challenges of living with this illness.
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