WHAT IS ARTHRITIS?

Millions of Americans are affected by arthritis. Arthritis is really over 100 different diseases. All of which consist of some form of joint inflammation which is actually the origin of the word arthritis.

Arthritis appears when the cartilage in the joints begins to break down. Cartilage’s job is to protect your joints as they move. Normally, your joints bend and flex smoothly. Another part of cartilage’s job is to absorb the shock between the bones from pressure. Walking is a good example of this. When the cartilage in your joints breaks down, it allows the bone to rub together as they move causing swelling which leads to inflammation. Pain and stiffness in the joints also result.

Some of the risk factors for arthritis are set in stone. You cannot change them. You cannot go back in time and become younger. Age increases the chances that you will develop some form of arthritis. You cannot change your gender. Women> make up 60% of the population that suffers from arthritis. You cannot change your genetic makeup. Genetics are linked to higher risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis >and lupus>, both common forms of arthritis.

There are numerous other risk factors for arthritis. These others are modifiable. Which means you can do something to change them and thus, reduce your risk of developing the disease.

Obesity> or even being moderately overweight can increase your chances of the joint damage that develops into arthritis. Excess weight can also speed up the rate at which the disease progresses. Even a small weight loss, say 10 lbs., has been shown to decrease the chance that osteoarthritis of the knee will occur.

Previous injuries to one or more joints increase the likelihood you will develop arthritis in them.

Previous infections can make you susceptible. Certain types of arthritis may develop as a result of infection.

Repetitive actions in your occupation can contribute to developing osteoarthritis> of the knee. If your work requires you to bend your knees and squat repeatedly all day, your risks for this type of arthritis are increased.

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