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Causes of arthritis

Updated on June 4, 2011

Causes of Arthritis

What is Arthritis?

The word arthritis means inflammation of the joints, but in the early stages, the whole body is usually involved. One or two joints may become completely deformed, leaving the patient handicapped and somewhat weakened. Serious deformities may sometimes occur in the bones and joints. These include tumours, swellings, and new growths. But the most frequent cause of trouble is arthritis.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis.Common arthritis symptoms of inflammation, pain, and stiffness are usually caused by degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis). Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis and gout. No matter which type of arthritis you have, you need an accurate diagnosis before your doctor can recommend a program for treatment. Rheumatoid Arthiritis begins rather mildly with some swelling, pain and tenderness in the joints of the fingers, wrists, knees and feet. In this disease the joints on each side of the body are often involved at the same time. The joints feel unsually warm, and may appear red, and perhaps even contain some fluid. During the active phase of the disease, the patient complains of fatigue, weakness and pain. Because of the pain in the joints, the near-by muscles go into spasm.

The weakening and breakdown of cartilage, which cushions the moving parts of joints, is a key factor in the development of osteoarthritis, which is common in the over-40s. This condition occurs usually during the later years of life, although it may begin at any age. Almost everyone gets a touch of it at some time in his life. In some cases, the trouble is only temporary, in others it may drags on for years.

Briefly speaking, following are the early signs of arthritis:-


1.Tenderness in and around the joint

2. Limited range of motion in one or more joints.

3. Redness and warmth around the affected joint


It is important to note that early arthritis symptoms may be confusing, but let your doctor to make a decision about further treatment of the disease. Early sings of the disease are important to recognize.

There are an estimated eight million people in the UK alone who have the problem in some form or another, and in severe cases patients can require constant painkillers or even joint replacement surgery. As per news item appearing in the BBC News, now it is possible through MRI Scan to detect the disease at an early stage which may reveal early warning signs of arthritis. This test is being developed by US researchers. Certainly, now early diagnosis could reduce the need for surgery later in life.

Cartilage is tough and elastic because of its high water content, and existing MRI scans look for lower levels of this as a sign that the disease is developing. The US researchers team is trying to spot the disease even earlier by looking for a substance called glycosaminogycan (GAG), which helps the cartilage hold plenty of water.

The scientists found a way to make the hydrogen atoms attached to GAG emit a signal which can be picked up by the scanner.

Sources: bbc.co.uk and webmd.com

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