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What Causes Arthritis? The Latest Ideas

Feb 25, 2008
Arthritis is so common that we all probably know somebody with the condition. But is it an inevitable thing that will happen to us, as we get older? Here we look at some of the causes of arthritis.

First of all we have to be clear about what type of arthritis we are talking about because there are several different types of the disease, each with different symptoms. We'll concentrate on osteoarthritis (OA), as this is the most common condition and most people will be familiar with it to a greater or lesser degree.

Doctors do not know the precise causes but they are able to identify a number of risk factors for getting the condition. Here are some of those factors:

Age - We are more likely to suffer from arthritis as we get older. In OA, the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones in a joint becomes thinner and less able to repair itself. The condition is sometimes referred to as a 'wear and tear' disease.

Injury - It has been found that osteoarthritis can develop in joints that have been previously affected by injury, for example a knee injury. But just because you have had a broken bone or other injury it doesn't mean that you are going to get arthritis in later life.

Weight - being overweight can put more stress on the weight-bearing joints of the body such as the knees and hips. These are frequently affected by osteoarthritis and many doctors would recommend that overweight sufferers try to lose some weight if possible. This is sometimes difficult as people with OA tend to be less mobile and less able to take exercise. Having a sensible eating plan is an important aspect of controlling weight for these people.

Sport - There is an interesting paradox here. Playing sport can have many beneficial effects to us all, including people with arthritis. But high impact sport at a professional level has also been implicated as a possible cause of arthritis. In fact many professional sports people have gone on to develop OA. The twisting motion on the knee in sports like soccer, or the constant pounding of the jogger running 50 miles a week could be a contributory factor in developing arthritis. Less intense activities such as swimming are less likely to cause such problems.

Occupation - The occupation that you have performed for years may also be telling. If you have a physical job like carrying sacks of coal, or carrying bricks on a building site, then you're more at risk. Assembly line workers who perform repetitive tasks can also be more likely to suffer.

Although it is not always possible to exactly pinpoint the exact causes of arthritis, it is always useful to know the risk factors so that we can take action to reduce the chances of developing the disease.

There are a number of treatments that can help people that have osteoarthritis. Speak to your doctor to discuss the range of options available and to find the most suitable one for you.
About the Author
For more information on natural arthritis remedies visit www.arthritispainadvice.com. You'll find tips on dealing with the pain and discomfort of conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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