Arthritis is a very common but complex disease. A most common symptom is the joint pains in the different joints in the body. These joints could be at the elbows, knees, hands, wrists, or even the hips and different parts of the body. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is caused by the breakdown and subsequent loss of the cartilage in the joints. A cartilage is a rubbery tissue (soft bone) that cushions bones at the joints. Osteoarthritis can be caused by any constant activity that wears and tears the cartilage. Thus, excessive running or jogging for many years, when the joints are pounded by the weight of the body, may eventually lead to osteoarthritis. Obesity also increases the chance of an individual in acquiring arthritis since the heavy weight of the body stresses the knees. Some individuals are born with abnormal joints. These joints are susceptible to more wear and tear. Persons with this condition should take care in not over-stressing the joints unnecessarily.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, and sometimes an inflammation of the tissue around the joints and other organs of the body. Autoimmune diseases are diseases wherein the body's immune system attacks its own tissues. The immune system is the body's defense against infection and intruders. The antibodies in individuals with autoimmune diseases attack their own body tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis may lead to the destruction of the cartilage, bones and ligaments. There is no known correlation between the pain caused by arthritis and the amount of damage to the joints.
Arthritis becomes more common in aged individuals. However, there are cases when persons below 45 already experience the symptoms of arthritis. A good way to prevent arthritis is by maintaining a body weight proportional with your body mass and height. Obesity is a leading cause of arthritis. One avoids obesity by moderating the intake of fattening food. Those with acute obesity are advised to see a physician for the proper advice. Contemporary research indicates that arthritis is one of the health problems resulting from obesity, including heart problems and high blood pressure.
The best prevention to arthritis is not to put undue stress to the joints. This means having the proper warm-up routines before exercising, taking periods of rest when engaging in physically stressful work, and relaxing the joints by stretching and exercising the joints, especially when taking long car or plane rides. Daily exercise is also recommended as a preventive measure for arthritis.
Taking in calcium strengthens the bones and the cartilage. Thus, the proper dose of calcium supplements would help in reducing the risk of arthritis. New research findings indicate that the vitamin D absorbed by your skin from the sun makes the bones stronger. That is because vitamin D has a relevant effect on the health of the bones. But during fall and winter, where one is not so much exposed to sunlight, there is not much body absorption of vitamin D. Hence, it is advisable to take in supplements of this vitamin to continue giving strength to the bone during the less sunlight seasons.
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