Monday, February 8, 2010

What is Arthritis Disease?

What is arthritis disease? Well, depending who you ask, you may get varying answers, but to people who have it, it all means one thing: burning, agonizing pain, that may not be there sometimes, and then comes at the most inconvenient moments. The word arthritis is derived from the Greek word for joint (arthron) and suffix for inflammation (-itis). In the case of the most common form of arthritis disease, Osteoarthritis, this is most true, as it is a deterioration of the bones and cartilage that make up one's joints, which obviously causes a great deal of progressive pain. It is similar in effect to an old car with a failing oil pump; the parts grind to together, slowly destroying the engine's ability to work.

Rheumatoid arthritis disease, the second most common form of arthritis, is far more debilitating. It is not caused by natural degeneration of the joints, but is an inflammation of multiple joints simultaneously, a pain that can cripple a person for hours or even days.

So what is arthritis disease? Well, arthritis isn't really one specific thing. Like epilepsy, it is used to describe a variety of conditions that have one common effect on the body. In the case of arthritis, it is essentially anything that affects the musculoskeletal system in one fashion or the other, though the joints involved and the damage done or caused may vary significantly from one case to the other. In some cases, the human body may wrongfully identify parts of its own structure as "foreign". This is believed to be the cause of certain kinds of arthritis disease, as inflammation is a reaction from a human immune system towards a pathogen.

Unfortunately, some individuals, because of their genetics, are more susceptible to this kind of arthritis disease, as certain mutations can cause the human body to identify parts of itself as "foreign". And this can be extremely devastating on the victim, as the immune system may not just attack the joints of the body, but also various internal organs and biological components.

Fortunately, there are many treatments for arthritis due to our increased understanding of the human body in modern times, and many more are being developed even as you read this. It is important to know your family history in regards to arthritis, as this may very easily be passed on to you. Stress is also a big factor in many cases of arthritis victims. Some of the hardest working, most successful men and women develop arthritis at a relatively early age, sometimes even chronically. Thus it is important to have regular exams to test for arthritis, and to see a doctor if you begin showing any symptoms of arthritis disease, because if left untreated, it can ruin your life. Some may cause immense amounts of pain, and others may knock a number of years off your lifespan.

So what is arthritis disease? It is pain or complication caused by or affecting the musculoskeletal system. It is a danger to one's quality of life, and potentially a danger to one's life in general. It is a complication that affects millions of Americans, the age gap growing larger and larger as victims become younger and younger. Sometimes, it can be prevented, and we should all be learning how to, if not for ourselves, but for our parents and children.

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