Arthritis is the formal term used to describe joint pain or disease. “Arthr-itis” means “inflammation” (itis) of the “joint” (arthro). It is not a single isolated disease as many would believe. In fact there are over 100 different types of joint and joint-related –tissue conditions that fall under the umbrella of arthritis.
Categories of Arthritis
There are two broad categories of arthritis: 1. Inflammatory Arthritis and 2. Osteoarthritis.
- Inflammatory Arthritis such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), are a group on conditions where the body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the joints, causing swelling, stiffness and moderate to severe pain. Other forms may include Psoriatic Arthritis, Lupus, and Gout.
- Osteoarthritis is “wear and tear” arthritis. The cartilage within your joints, created to protect the surface of your bones within the joint, wear down with time and use. Sometimes this is triggered or hastened by injury such as a fracture or sprain that may have happened some time ago. In other instances it may be caused by overuse or repetitive use motion typically associated with the physical demands of your occupation or hobbies of interest.
Arthritis can affect any bone in your body but most commonly individuals experience symptoms in their neck and lower back, shoulders, wrists, hands, hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
Did you know?
Did you know that approximately one in six adult Canadians live with some form of arthritis and it happens to be the most common condition reported by both women and men beginning at age 15? Traditionally arthritis has been perceived as a condition of the elderly, however, more than half of all Canadians with arthritis are under the age of 65 years. This means that as early as your teen age years, both males and females could have signs and symptoms of arthritis.
Why is this important?
Arthritis can cause severe pain affecting one’s quality of life and causing significant disability. In severe forms, it may cripple and leave its victims bed –ridden. The Canadian Economy has estimated a $33 billion loss each year due to health care costs and the loss of productivity associated with arthritis-related health conditions. In addition, intolerable pain and limited functionality in life may lend towards the onset of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
By Audley V. Williams, MPH, MD for ReVitahealth Inc.
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