What is Arthritis? Causes, Symptoms, prevention, treatment, and types

Updated: Jul 7

Arthritis is derived from a Greek word Arthro means ‘joint’ and itis means ‘inflammation’, thus Arthritis simply means inflammation of one or more joints. It is frequently accompanied by joint pains. Joint pain is referred to as arthralgia. When four or more joints are involved, the arthritis is referred to as polyarthritis. When two or three joints are involved, it is referred to as oligoarthritic. When only a single joint is involved, it is referred to as monoarthritic.


During severe arthritis, joints may gradually lose their alignment and shape thus it makes it even more difficult for a person to perform his/her daily tasks. Sometimes comfortably walking and sitting up straight becomes a nightmare. It is most commonly observed in men and woman who are aged 65 years old and those who are overweight. It can also develop in children, teens and younger adults. Arthritis is a chronic condition, it affects people on an ongoing, constant or recurring basis over months, years and even a lifetime. If left untreated, inflammation can lead to significant and often irreparable damage to the affected areas, resulting in loss of function and disability.


Types of Arthritis


There are many types of arthritis, each have different symptoms and may require different treatments.


The most common types of arthritis are:


a) Osteoarthritis :- The most common type of arthritis which destroys the padding on the ends of bones (cartilage) and narrows the joint space. It occurs in most people as they age.


b) Rheumatoid arthritis :- An autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, pain and damage various joints throughout the body. It also affects organs like heart and lungs.


Causes of Arthritis


Different types of arthritis have different causes, for example, gout is the result of too much uric acid in the body.


Some common cause include;


· Have a family history of arthritis (Genes)

· Have a job or play a sport that puts repeated stress on your joints.

· Have certain autoimmune diseases or viral infections.

· A reduction in the normal amount of this cartilage tissue cause some forms of arthritis.


Some specific arthritis have their specific causes: -


i) Osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear of the joint over time or because of overuse.


ii) Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and scleroderma are caused by the body’s immune system

attacking the body’s own tissues.


iii) Gout is caused by the buildup of crystals in the joints.


Symptoms of Arthritis


Symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time and typically worsen with age. They can be mild in some people and severe in others.

Common symptoms include:


· Stiff and swollen joints which make it difficult to bend and straighten the knees.

· Pain and swelling may be worse in the morning, or after sitting or resting.

· Vigorous activity may cause pain to flare up.

· Locking joints make noise.

· Pain may cause a feeling of weakness or buckling in the knee.

· Change in weather brings increased joint pain.