What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an umbrella term for over 100 medical conditions that affect your joints.
Arthritis-related problems include pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to joint cartilage (the tissue that covers the ends of bones, enabling them to move against each another) and surrounding structures. This can result in joint weakness, instability and deformities that can interfere with the most basic daily tasks such as walking, driving a car and preparing food.
As the population ages, the number of people with arthritis is growing. There is a widely held belief that arthritis is simply a consequence of age. But it is not only a natural part of ageing. It may be associated with an injury, there may be some genetic predisposition or other factors may come into play.
Research suggests that early intervention can delay the onset of the disease and may reduce the number of cases of osteoarthritis.
Common Causes of Arthritis
While there are about 100 forms of arthritis, the three most common causes account for 95% of all arthritis. These are:
- Osteoarthritis- a wear and tear process related to time or possible injury.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis- a disease process that is systemic.
- Psoriatic Arthritis- a disease process that is systemic.
- Less Common Causes of Arthritis
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Juvenile Arthritis