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Many people suffer from Arthritis but don't even know why they are in pain. So what exactly is arthritis? Arthritis is a disease characterized by pain, swelling or symptoms of the joints. There are more than 100 types of this disease, which is one of the oldest and most chronic in the world.
To understand how arthritis works, let's take a look at the muscloskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system is made up of 650 muscles and 206 bones which support the body. The places where the bones meet and movement takes place are called joints. Arthritis arises when for various reasons the joints stop working properly. Different types of arthritis are classified by the way in which the joint fails to function.
Two of the most common joint failures result in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that protects bones begins to wear away. The raw area that results causes bone to rub painfully on bone. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, happens when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissue, resulting in joint inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, which means it is characterized by long periods where sufferers feel fine,interspersed with painful flare-ups. This type of arthritis can occur at any age. In contrast, osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease which means, it become steadily worse overtime. People who are overweight put extra pressure on their hips, knees and other weight bearing joints. This can contribute to the wearing away of a joint cartilage.
Other causes of osteoarthritis include sports-related injuries and physical trauma like car accidents.Occupations that depend on heavy physical labor are another common culprit. Osteoarthritis is more common in older women due to shortage of estrogen. No matter the classification arthritis usually causes pain, swelling or stiffness in the joints.
People who have rheumatoid arthritis may also feel generally ill and expressed flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, fever and lack of appetite. Usually the pain of rheumatoid arthritis is symmetrical, meaning that joints are inflamed on both sides of the body. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, usually occurs on only one side of the body. For example, a sufferer may experience pain in their right hip but not their left.
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