What is Arthritis? (ABC podcast click here) )
Arthritis is an umbrella term for over 100 medical conditions that affect your joints. This is because “arth” simply means bone and “itis” means inflammation. Therefore its anything causing inflammation of the bones.
Arthritis-related problems include pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to joint cartilage (the tissue that covers the ends of bones, enabling them to move against each another) and surrounding structures. This can result in joint weakness, instability and deformities that can interfere with the most basic daily tasks.
As the population ages, the number of people with arthritis grows There is a widely held belief that arthritis is simply a consequence of age. But it is not a natural part of ageing. Trauma in the past that has not healed properly, poor exercise habits, poor nutrition, metabolic, genetic or hormone disorders all contribute to the disease.
Research suggests early intervention can not only delay the onset of the disease but may also reduce symptoms and progression.
While there are about 100 forms of arthritis, the three most common causes account for 95% of all arthritis. These are:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Psoriatic Arthritis
There is no known cure for arthritis. However arthritis is usually manageable.
Less common forms of arthritis are:
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Juvenile arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)