All About Arthritis
There are many causes and types of arthritis the most common being Osteoarthritis (OA) often described as “wear & tear”, Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Gout and arthritis it is not unique to us humans. Animals suffer from arthritis also. The joints of our body are covered by a protective cartilage, also known as the synovium, which allows joints to glide and move over each other without friction. However, as the cartilage begins to wear and break down the joint loses some of its protection and the wearing process of arthritis begins to set in. The joint then begins to get stiff, swollen and painful.
So what causes the “wear and tear”?
Well there are many conditions and diseases that can affect joints leading to the cartilage becoming roughened and damaged. However, damage to joints and repetitive over use type injuries are probably amongst the most common causes and if you are female unfortunately you are more likely to suffer from arthritis. Increasing age is also a factor of arthritis but some people are affected more than others and this may be due to your Genes.
What is the difference between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Firstly Osteoarthritis is far more common than Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis is basically wear and tear of the joint which leads to a damaged and roughened joint. It is a progressive condition that gradually develops over a period of time. However, Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune type disease. What this means is that your body’s defence system known as the immune system, which normally protects our bodies from unwanted viruses, bacteria etc starts to attack the protective layer in our joints. This causes swelling within the joint which leads to further damage within the joint capsule and in time joint deformity can develop particularly in the hands and fingers. The joints will also become stiff and painful as they do with OA. People with RA will often experience a general feeling of being unwell and this may be due to the fact that RA can affect not only your joints but other tissues in the body also. Early diagnosis and treatment is vital with rheumatoid arthritis as this may help reduce the long term effects of the condition.