Arthritis and joint inflammation is a rheumatic
disease that causes inflammation, a swelling that can include
pain or redness; and loss of function of one or more connecting
or supporting structures of the body. Overtime, the joint can
become severely damaged. Joints are places where two bones meet,
such as your elbow or knee. Some kinds of arthritis can cause
problems in other organs, such as your eyes, or in your chest.
It can affect your skin, too.
several kinds of arthritis. The two most common ones are rheumatoid
arthritis and osteoarthritis:
Rheumatoid arthritis happens when the body's own defense
system doesn't work properly. It affects joints, bones, and organs--often
the hands and feet. You may feel sick or tired, and you may have
a fever. Other conditions can also cause arthritis. Some include:
§ Gout, in which crystals build up in the joints.
It usually affects the big toe.
§ Lupus, in which the body's defense system
can harm the joints, the heart, the skin, the kidneys, and other
§ Viral hepatitis (VY-rul HEP-ah-TY-tis), in
which an infection of the liver can cause arthritis.
While the cause remains elusive, doctors suspect
that genetic factors are important in rheumatoid arthritis. Genetic
factors determine susceptibility and environmental factors in
lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. Recent studies have
begun to tease out the genetic characteristics that can be passed
from generation to generation. However, the inherited trait alone
does not cause the illness. Researchers think this trait, along
with some other unknown factor-probably in the environment-triggers
Another factor involved in certain kinds of arthritis
is gender. Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis scleroderma, and fibromyalgia
are found to be more common in women. This suggests that hormones
may have a role in the development of these conditions.
is the most common form of arthritis and usually comes
with age and most often affects the fingers, knees, and hips.
Sometimes osteoarthritis follows an injury to a joint. For example,
a young person might hurt his knee badly playing soccer. Then,
years after the knee has apparently healed, he might get arthritis
in his knee joint.
There are certain risk factors that have been identified
for several types of arthritis. For people with osteoarthritis
it has been found that cartilage weakness is inherited and that
excessive stress on a joint or a repeated injury may play a role.
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