While joint pain can be just part of the natural gain process, it can also be a sign of something much worse… Arthritis.
“I’m not as young as I used to be!”
It’s a familiar refrain, often declared when someone is asked to perform a physical task or activity that they feel is now beyond their capacity.
It’s a comedic phrase because of its redundancy. Of course you’re not as young as you used to be. No one is! Just the same, we’ll never be as old as we’re going to be.
Still, the phrase resonates with us because we understand that with the natural aging process come various aches and pains that will inhibit and change our lifestyle.
But, be careful.
While mild joint pain can be a symptom of aging, it can also be a symptom of a far bigger problem. Arthritis.
This article will walk through the three most common forms of arthritis, explain how they differ from one another, and what you need to be looking for.
Our first face of arthritis is the world’s number one cause of joint pain, osteoarthritis. Incredibly common, 1 in 2 adults will develop symptoms of knee osteoarthritis in their lifetime. 1 in 4 will develop symptoms of hip osteoarthritis by the age of 85, and 1 in 12 adults will have osteoarthritis in the hand once they start aging beyond 60.
So, what happens when you develop osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis causes joint cartilage to start breaking down. As a result, simple movements become difficult due to the pain caused by the swelling and stiffness of your joints.
It doesn’t stop there. As osteoarthritis worsens, bones may start to break down and develop growths known as spurs. We may then see parts of the bone breaking off and floating around the joint. This causes an inflammatory process whereby cytokines and enzymes start to develop that damage the joint cartilage even further!
Eventually, the cartilage completely wears away, and we are left with bone on bone contact, a horrible situation.
Typically, osteoarthritis affects people over the age of 60. While it can be brought about as part of the aging process, there are several other conditions that can leave you at risk. They include obesity, previous joint injury, overuse of a joint, weak thigh muscles, and family history.
Doesn’t this second face of arthritis sound like such an old-fashioned condition? Henry VIII had it, for goodness sake!
Surprising as it may be, gout is the second most common type of joint problem today. In fact, gout occurs in roughly 6 million men and 2 million women. While it can cause pain in a variety of joints, it most often manifests in the big toe.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis, which means it often develops in people with high levels of uric acid in their blood. This acid can crystallize into needle-like shards within your joints and cause sudden and severe bursts of pain, swelling, redness, and warmth.
So, who could be at risk for a condition like this? Well, people who live like Henry VIII. We’re not referring to the propensity for beheadings, of course (although, to be fair, we haven’t tested for that). No, we’re referring to an overindulgence in red meat and alcohol, or even shellfish or soda. Further, any stress on kidney function, including not drinking enough water, can leave you at risk for developing gout.
Those who suffer from obesity and diabetes should also be wary.
Our final face of arthritis is the chronic autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis. By targeting our joints, rheumatoid arthritis creates inflammation that causes our synovium (tissue inside the joints) to thicken, resulting in swelling and pain around our joints.
Synovium makes synovial fluid, which is paramount to making sure our joints are properly lubricated. When our joints aren’t lubricated we start to experience stiffness and pain.
As the inflammation spreads, our joint cartilage becomes another casualty. Eventually, when enough vital cartilage has been claimed, the joint spacing between bones can narrow, which leads to bone on bone contact.
The joints most commonly affected are in the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. It is experienced by approximately 1.5 million Americans, and is about 3 times more prominent in women than men. It is also felt at a much younger age than osteoarthritis, first experienced between the ages of 30 and 60.
Making it all the more insidious, rheumatoid arthritis can also be felt outside of the joints, and can affect our cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
While it is not yet fully understood how rheumatoid arthritis is caused, many factors are thought to play a role, including bacteria or viruses, obesity, stress, exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution and industrial chemicals. Research has also shown that people with the genetic marker known as the HLA shared epitope are five times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those without the marker.
At Redd Remedies, we don’t want to just provide people with solutions. We want to try and provide an education.
If you want to find more helpful pieces like this one, make sure to regularly visit: https://blog.reddremedies.com/.
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