What is Arthritis?

Data about the incidence of arthritis is not available for all countries. Just the United States has over 50 million reported cased. Europe has over 120 million people afflicted. In reality, Arthritis is not a single disease but a way of referring to a host of ailments that affect your joints. There are over a hundred types of arthritis. It does not spare the young, the old, men or women. More common among older people, over 300,000 children in the US have arthritis. Anyone who has contracted it will suffer from chronic joint pains, stiffness, especially in the morning. Their ability to perform physical activities including walking, climbing stairs or holding things get impaired and progressively can get worse. Over time, there will be visible signs such as inflamed finger joints. An X-Ray will reveal the damage to the bones.

At the root of the disease is something called inflammation. Inflammation is a complex response in your body to harmful stimuli such as pathogens or damaged cells. Arthritis has two versions. Inflammatory and Non-Inflammatory. However, even the non-inflammatory is an inflammation of the joints, just caused by wear and tear instead of your immune system attacking your joints and causing the pain.

Once you are diagnosed, a Doctor will recommend anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. These drugs come with their complications including addiction and side effects. Another way of healing your body is to consume foods that reduce inflammation such as turmeric (curcumin). Since this is a progressive disease, you are best served by early detection and treatment. Counter-intuitively, though your joints might hurt, a Doctor would advise you to exercise such as walking. Exercise helps lubricate the joints, reducing the inflammation. Reducing the pressure on your bone by lowering weight helps. Similarly, strengthening the muscles around your joints also helps. At the very least, do not ignore a pain in your joints.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.

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