Health Essays - Arthritis Causes Treatment

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Arthritis Causes Treatment


This analytical essay presents information about three main types of arthritis, their causes, treatment, as well as information about people who are vulnerable to arthritis. The bibliography appends seven sources in APA format


The term “arthritis” literally means an inflammation of the joints present in our body and is basically used to refer to more than a hundred diseases of the joints. Basically arthritis is the inflammation of a joint(s) which is usually accompanied by pain, stiffness as well as a change in the physical structure of the body. As is said, arthritis is “a group of bone and joint disorders commonly marked by bone deterioration, joint inflammation, chronic pain, loss of mobility and flexibility, and other skeletal dysfunction. 

Arthritis is one of the most common ailments (especially among older people) and the most common condition leading to joint replacement surgery” (Medical Glossary, 2006). Hence, basically having arthritis means that a person is suffering from a degeneration of joints and an arthritic joint suffers from a loss of articular cartilage and degenerative changes occur to the bone. It is basically the wearing down of cartilage and a loss of fluid by which the joints are surrounded.

Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gouty Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis of middle age characterized by degenerative and every now and then hypertrophic changes in the bone and cartilage of one or supplementary joints and a progressive draining down of opposing joint surfaces with consequential deformation of joint position more often than not without bony stiffening called also: degenerative arthritis, degenerative joint disease, hypertrophic arthritis.

It is a non-inflammatory degenerative joint disease that takes place predominantly in older persons, exemplified by deterioration of the articular cartilage, hypertrophy of bone at the margins and modifications in the synovial membrane. Osteoarthritis is accompanied by pain and stiffness, for the most part after prolonged goings-on. Osteoarthritis results from weakening of the cartilage in one or more joints. It leads to joint damage, twinge, and inflexibility.

It characteristically affects the hands, feet, knees, spine and hips. As is said, “Osteoarthritis (OA, also known as degenerative arthritis, degenerative joint disease), is a condition in which low-grade inflammation results in pain in the joints, caused by abnormal wearing of the cartilage that covers and acts as a cushion inside joints and destruction or decrease of synovial fluid that lubricates those joints. As the bone surfaces become less well protected by cartilage, the patient experiences pain upon weight bearing, including walking and standing” (Osteoarthritis, 2008).

Rheumatoid arthritis is an unremitting non-bacterial inflammation of joints which causes coagulation of the synovial membrane and constant inflammatory changes. The articular cartilages are afterward softened and battered. Osteoarthritis might be occurring due to work-related hazards leading to wear and tear in the joints but rheumatoid arthritis is an ailment without any acknowledged work-related associations.

Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the joints present in our body, above all the hands and feet. This shows the way to pain, tenderness which later turns into joint damage. Rheumatoid Arthritis has the tendency to also have an effect on other organ systems such as the eyes, heart and lungs. Rheumatoid arthritis is every now and then referred to as inflammatory arthritis. It is said that, “rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the joint lining becomes inflamed as part of the body’s immune system activity. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most serious and disabling types, affecting mostly women” (Glossary of Musculoskeletal Terms, 2007).

Gouty arthritis is a term used to refer to a type of arthritis which is caused by deposits of needle-like crystals of uric acid. Gouty arthritis is more prevalent in men as compared to women. Gouty arthritis is a sudden attack of pain taking place in the joints, particularly in the feet and legs that occur when uric acid builds up in the joints.

As is said, “Gouty Arthritis is a defect in the ability of the body to rid itself of excess uric acid, thus causing uric acid crystals to lodge in the collagen tissue matrices throughout portions of the body, especially near the joints, or at other locations where a supersaturated solution of poorly dissolved uric acid will easily fall out of solution, near cooler portions of the body” (Fabio, 1997).


There are two dissimilar types of osteoarthritis that are generally known as primary and secondary. Primary osteoarthritis is the category which is basically linked with aging and is considered of as “wear and tear” osteoarthritis. This mean that the older a person gets, the more likely it is that he or she will have some measure of primary arthritis. In actual fact, if we live a life that is long enough, most of us would for sure go through primary osteoarthritis, even if it is merely a touch. No particular cause can be related to this type of osteoarthritis.

On the other hand, when someone is analyzed to be having secondary osteoarthritis, it is for the reason that there is a perceptible cause for the disease. As it can be simply said, the go down of cartilage can be connected to injury, inheritance, obesity or something else. Some causes of osteoarthritis are: aging, obesity, injury, inheritance, weakness of the muscles along with other types of diseases as well as another type of arthritis.

Aging is one of the most common causes of osteoarthritis. As we age our joints get overused and the “wear and tear” part of this problem tends to set in, making it out as the most common cause of osteoarthritis. Another cause known to us related to osteoarthritis is that of obesity. As is known to everyone, obesity is a countrywide outbreak and everyday we get to hear about its dangers on the news.

Augmented weight of our body is a solemn factor in the growth of osteoarthritis, focusing basically one our knees, which carry the burden of our weight all the way throughout the day and at night as well. For every pound that is gained by a person, he or she adds three pounds of pressure on his or her knees and six times the pressure on his or her hips. Since weight increase slowly but surely increases the strain on joints, the weight that is gained by a person the decade before he or she has symptoms of osteoarthritis, for the most part in middle age, plays an immense role in determining if a person might have osteoarthritis.

Sportspersons and people who have jobs that have need of doing recurring motion, such as landscaping, typing or machine operating, have an advanced risk of developing osteoarthritis as a result of injury and increased strain on particular joints. Osteoarthritis or OA also develops in later years in joints where bones have been splintered or surgery has taken place.

It is significant for athletes to be trained to take safety measures to keep away from injury and for people in recurring jobs to adjust their movements to diminish this stress. Also, it is becoming extremely clear that genetics plays a character in the development of osteoarthritis, for the most part in the hands. Hereditary aberrations of the bones that have an effect on the figure or constancy of the joints can lead to osteoarthritis.

What more has been learnt is that fact that it is also more widespread in joints that do not fit together efficiently. For instance it can be said that a bowlegged person is more probable to suffer from osteoarthritis at some point in his life. Increased tolerance or being double jointed also increases the jeopardy of osteoarthritis.

It is said that, “recently, researchers have been looking at a defect in the gene responsible for manufacturing cartilage as a risk factor. Just because you have one of these inherited traits, doesn’t mean that you are going to develop OA. It just means that your doctor should check you more closely and more frequently for signs and symptoms of the disease” (Causes, 2007).

What more is known is that weakness of the muscles surrounding our knees can also lead to osteoarthritis. People who suffer from some other type of arthritis might also get affected. Other causes are also inclusive of hemochromotosis, meaning that a person has excessive iron, which has a tendency to damage cartilage to the point of chronic weakening. Acromegaly, or intemperance growth hormone, also has unfavorable affects on the bones and joints and can lead to osteoarthritis.

The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are not really known to scientists and doctors as yet. Nevertheless, researchers are trying to figure out more and more information over this topic every day. What has recently been learnt by scientists as well as doctors is that rheumatoid arthritis may be caused by an amalgamation of genetic, environmental, or hormonal factors.

A very attention-grabbing theory is that the propensity to develop rheumatoid arthritis is hereditary, which means that it runs in families. Researchers have found that the predisposition to build up rheumatoid arthritis is interrelated to specific genes.

On the other hand, it is not necessary that people who have these particular genes would definitely develop rheumatoid arthritis, and people who do not have these genes can still develop the condition. What is suggested here is that other conditions and factors might also have the tendency to play a role in the cause and development of rheumatoid arthritis.

Another theory is that this type of arthritis is caused by environmental factors, such as disclosure to bacteria or a scrupulous diet that may take place naturally in particular locations. For instance, some scientists have found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more probable than those without it to have been open to the elements of a bacterium called Proteus mirabilis. Further believed is that other bacterial or viral infections also may set off rheumatoid arthritis.

Researchers also have found out that some autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, are more widespread in certain areas of the world. For example, scientists have recommended that environmental features, such as not being capable to get sufficient vitamin D, might be part of the explanation that people living in Scandinavian countries are more likely to suffer from diabetes and arthritis. At the same time as theories such as this necessitate further research, the cause of this type of arthritis remains unidentified.

A third theory is that rheumatoid arthritis may be pretentious by hormones. Researchers have found that hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, amplify during pregnancy but dwindle after that. This just might be an explanation of why commencement of rheumatoid arthritis often occurs right after child birth or why women with this type of arthritis who become pregnant often go through noteworthy symptom enhancement during pregnancy but have break out of rheumatoid arthritis once they have given birth (RA In-depth, 2005).

The causes of gouty arthritis are many. Genetics may play a character in shaping a person's risk, due to the fact that up to 18% of people with gout have a family history of the disease. Another fact is the gender of a person as this type of arthritis is more common in men as compared to women and more common in adults than in children. Being overweight adds up to the risk of gout due to the fact that there is more tissue accessible for turnover or breakdown, which leads to surfeit uric acid production.

Excessive drinking of alcohol can lead to hyperuricemia because it impedes with the taking away of uric acid from the body. Eating too many foods that have excessive purines can cause or intensify gout in some people. An enzyme imperfection that interferes with the way the body smashes down purines causes gout in a diminutive number of people, out of whom a number have a family history of gout. Disclosure to lead in the environment can root gout. A number of people who take specific medicines or have certain surroundings are at risk for having high intensity of uric acid in their body fluids (Eustice, 2006).


A number of accepted treatments for osteoarthritis are available in current times. These therapies can be separated into two foremost groups known as non-surgical and surgical. Some of the non-surgical therapies take in medications, dietetic supplementation, physical therapy, work-related therapy, work outs, self-management, and weight loss.

The most widespread types of medications used to diminish pain in osteoarthritis consist of acetaminophen (Tylenol®), Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDS (e.g. Motrin®, Advil®, Aleve®), and painkillers. Much interest has been paid to the field of nutritional supplements that are the edifice blocks of cartilage. These products such as glucosamine and hyaluronic acid, are non- prescription, and in a certain number of studies have shown to probably slow the development of osteoarthritis.

Physical therapy is intended to restoring the strength of the muscles, shielding the joint and making the best use of the quantity of function that a joint has. Physical therapy can be particularly advantageous to the patient who wants to holdup surgical intervention. Occupational therapy is designed to providing bearing in performing the activities of every day living and proposing suitable devices such as canes and bathroom apparatus to preserve independence.

Through some studies it has been found that comprehensive conditioning and aerobic exercise can decline pain and add to function in patients with osteoarthritis. Even though weight loss can not overturn the damage that has been done to a joint, it can diminish pain, augment treatment and perk up surgical outcome.

Different types of surgical interventions are also available, such as arthroscopy in which the surgeon makes a small slit in the skin and places a diminutive tube through which he/she can scrutinize a joint and carry out procedures such as scraping cartilage or bone and revamp ligaments, osteotomy, in which the surgeon will take away part of the bone in a joint to realign the joint as a momentary treatment for osteoarthritis, arthroplasty, in which, the surgeon eliminates part of the bone and reinstates the joint with a artificial joint. These synthetic joints are ever improving and can last many years (Osteoarthritis – Your Questions Answered, 2007).

No particular cure for rheumatoid arthritis has yet been found. Up till now, the objective of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis is to diminish joint inflammation and hurting, take full advantage of joint function, and put off joint demolition and malformation. Premature medical intervention has been revealed to be significant in improving results. Aggressive management can perk up function, discontinue damage to joints as seen on x-rays, and put off work disability.

Optimal treatment for the malady involves an amalgamation of medications, respite, joint intensification exercises, joint fortification, and patient (and family) education. Treatment is personalized according to many aspects such as disease commotion, types of joints concerned, common health, age, and patient occupation. Two types of medications are used in taking care of rheumatoid arthritis: “fast-acting "first-line drugs" and slow-acting "second-line drugs" (also referred to as Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs or DMARDs). The first-line drugs, such as aspirin and cortisone (corticosteroids), are used to reduce pain and inflammation.

The slow-acting second-line drugs, such as gold, methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) promote disease remission and prevent progressive joint destruction, but they are not anti-inflammatory agents” (How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated, 1996).

The most widespread treatments for an acute attack of gout are dosages of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can be taken orally or corticosteroids, which can be taken orally and they can also be injected into the affected joint. When NSAIDs or corticosteroids do not turn out to be useful to control symptoms, doctors may think about using colchicine. This drug is most efficient when put to use within the first twelve hours of an acute attack.

For a number of patients, the doctor may recommend either NSAIDs or oral colchicine in every day doses to put off future attacks. Doctors also may stipulate drugs such as allopurinol or probenecid to take care of hyperuricemia and diminish the rate of recurrence of sudden attacks. What is further recommended is for patients to drink more and more fluids to minimize the hazards of having kidney stones and a diet that has lesser amounts of purines is prescribed (Acute Gouty Arthritis, 1997).


As can be seen in the above paragraphs, the risk factors for osteoarthritis are aging, obesity, injuries and a family history of having the disease. As the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is yet unknown, we can suppose that the risk factors are environmental, genetic, gender of the person and dietary factors. Gouty arthritis is more prevalent in men and people who drink a lot, postmenopausal women, people with diabetes and those with kidney diseases (Acute Gouty Arthritis - i, 2005).


In the light of the above discussion we can hereby culminate that the causes of all three types of arthritis are many but they are curable if medication is taken regularly, otherwise surgical treatment would be recommended.


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