Arthritis is a broad term that encompasses more than 100 diseases that cause pain, stiffness and swelling. These range from inflammation of a joint itself, to involvement of the area around the joint as well.
In other words, it involves the breakdown of cartilage within joints which causes pain, swelling and restricted movements.
What are the Risk Factors for Developing Arthritis?
- Age: As people grow older, there is a greater risk of developing arthritic symptoms. There is a 59% chance of developing arthritis once a person reaches the age of 65.
- Family history: Some types of arthritis run in families, so you may be more likely to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have this condition. It is also more prevalent in females than in males.
- Being overweight: Carrying around those extra pounds puts more stress on your joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine. Obese people have a higher risk of developing arthritis due to that extra stress.
- Previously injuring a joint: People who have injured a joint are more likely to eventually develop arthritis in that joint.
- Putting repetitive stress on an injured joint: This happens most notably with athletes, ballet dancers and construction workers.
- Since there are many different forms of arthritis, the causes do vary. Scientists and researchers are currently examining how the roles of major factors, including genetics and lifestyles, affect the development of arthritis.
- A healthy joint is fully protected by cartilage which allows for smooth movement as well as shock absorption when pressure is put on the joint, such as when running.
- Arthritis results from the breakdown of this cartilage (for a variety of reasons). As the cartilage degenerates, the opposing bones of a joint rub together, causing the infamous pain, swelling and stiffness associated with arthritis.
- When the joint remains inflamed even after an injury, disease or traumatic event, the resulting joint destruction, long-term pain and deformity are referred to as chronic arthritis.
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