Another condition that I have always been interested in, and causes an issue with lots of people, is Arthritis. I’ve known lots of people who have had Arthritis and it can affect people of all ages and in lots of different ways.
What Is Arthritis
What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis in Children
Causes of Arthritis
Treatments for Arthritis
What is Arthritis
Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. In my research I found that 1 in 5 people aged over 18 get arthritis and almost 300,000 babies and children have arthritis or a rheumatic condition. Having arthritis can stop you from doing basic things such as holding things, walking up stairs, or walking in general, depending on what type of arthritis you have and what part of your body it affects. It’s a life changing disease and I cannot even begin to imagine how hard life must be for someone with the condition.
You can get arthritis in any joint and there are lots of different types of arthritis that you can get, but the two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and usually affects people aged 40 and over. It’s especially common in women and tends to have a history of effecting family in the past. This type of arthritis makes movement extremely difficult and can cause a lot of stiffness and pain as it damages the cartilage that lines the joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects people between the age of 40 and 50, and in my research I found that women are three times more likely to be affected by this type of arthritis than men are. It occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling and it can cause bone and cartilage to break down. People with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs in their body.
What are the Symptoms
There are lots of different types of arthritis that you can get, and the symptoms vary depending on which variation you have.
Here are some of the general symptoms of Arthritis:
- Early morning joint stiffness
- A general feeling of being unwell
- Weight loss
- Mild fevers or night sweats
- Skin rashes
- Joint pain
- Inflammation in and around the joints
- Restricted movement of the joints
- Warm, red skin over the affected joint
- Weakness and muscle wasting
Arthritis in children
As you can see, arthritis seems to be most common with people aged 40 and above, but it is common for young children to have it too. The types that tend to affect children more are known as juvenile arthritis. This type of arthritis occurs when there is inflammation of the synovium. The synovium is the soft tissue that lines the spaces of diarthrodial joints, tendon sheaths, and bursae.
Bursae – small fluid-filled sacs that cushion a joint
Tendon Sheath – a membrane around a tendon that permits the tendon to stretch
Diathrodial Joints – The most common and movable type of joint
Juvenile arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system attacks the body causing the condition to occur. Although there is no known cause for juvenile arthritis, in my research I found that many believe it is related to a mixture of genetics, certain infections, and environmental triggers.
There are four main different types of Juvenile Arthritis. These are:
- Oligo-articular (most common)
- Systemic onset
- Enthesitis-related arthritis
Oilgo-articular – most commonly affects the knees, ankles and wrists. One major risk of this type of arthritis is that the child may develop eye problems.
Polyarthritis – This type has similar symptoms to that of adult rheumatoid arthritis. Some symptoms include rashes on the skin and high temperatures.
Systematic – This type has quite a few symptoms. It starts with rashes, fever and a sense of lethargy and tiredness, and then can develop into the swelling and inflammation of joints.
Enthesitis-related arthritis – Most commonly affects older boys and teenagers. The symptoms include pain in the sole of the feet and around the knee and hip joints.
Causes of Arthritis
Although not all causes of arthritis are known, the potential causes include:
- Abnormal metabolism
- Immune system dysfunction
- Occupations which are very physically demanding
Treatments of Arthritis
At the moment there is no known cure for arthritis, but there are lots of different treatments that people with arthritis can have in order to try and relieve the symptoms and make day to day life easier for them. Some general suggestions for treatment for arthritis include the following (although treatment does depend on the individual’s type of arthritis and the symptoms they have individually):
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Joint replacement
- Joint fusion
- Cutting and re-aligning the bone
- Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs
Overall, in my research about the condition I have found out a lot about arthritis, and it is such a complex disease which can affect so many people in many different ways. Personally, something I learnt that I’d never known before was that children could get arthritis as well, and I learnt about the different types of arthritis they can get and how it affects them. I hope this post has also helped you to learn more about the disease as well, and I hope you have found it interesting. Thank you for reading 🙂