The word “arthritis” literally means joint inflammation (“arthr-” means joint; “-itis” means inflammation). It refers to more than 100 different diseases. These diseases usually affect the area in or around joints, such as muscles and tendons. Some of these diseases can also affect other parts of the body, including the skin and internal organs. Arthritis usually causes stiffness, pain and fatigue. The most common diseases among arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and increasingly, fibromyalgia.
Many types of arthritis show signs of joint inflammation: swelling, stiffness, tenderness, redness or warmth. These joint symptoms may be accompanied by weight loss, fever sleeplessness or general weakness.
When these symptoms last for more than two weeks, inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis may be the cause. Joint inflammation may also be caused by infection, which can lead to septic arthritis. Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) is the most common type of arthritis; joint inflammation is not a prominent feature of this condition.
Causes of Arthritis:
Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects the joint, allowing for smooth movement. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, like walking. Without the usual amount of cartilage, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling (inflammation), and stiffness. Other causes may include broken bone, infection (usually caused by bacteria or viruses), an autoimmune disease (the body attacks itself because the immune system believes a body part is foreign) and general “wear and tear” on joints. Often, the inflammation goes away after the injury has healed or the disease is treated, or the infection has been cleared.
With some injuries and diseases, the inflammation does not go away or destruction results in long-term pain and deformity. It leads to chronic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type and is more likely to occur as person ages after 45 or over. It may occur in any of the joints, but most commonly in hips, knees or fingers. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include being overweight, previously injuring the affected joint, using the affected joint in a repetitive action that puts stress on the joint (baseball players, ballet dancers, and construction workers are all at risk).
Following are some types of arthritis and their causes.
Rheumatoid arthritis principally attacks the joints producing a inflammatory synovitis that often progresses to destruction of the articular cartilage of the joints.Psoriatic arthritis Psoriatic arthritis can develop at any age, however on average it tends to appear about 10 years after the first signs of psoriasis
Ankylosing spondylitis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – Auto-immune Septic arthritis
Gouty arthritis – Deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints and subsequent inflammation
Pseudo gout – Precipitation of calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate crystals in the connective tissues
Homeopathic treatment has been found to be helpful in facilitating the day to day quality of life and relief from pain and stopping further damage. Some useful remedies are:
Ledum Pal, Colchicum, Ammonium Carb, Antimonium Crudum Benzoic acid, Lycopodium, Staphisagria Ammonium Carb, Nit Acid, Phosphoricum, Rhododendron, Rhus Tox, Urtica urens and Picric acid.
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