As the month of May is National Arthritis Month, we thought we’d give you a little guide as to what arthritis actually is, how it is caused and the symptoms to look out for. Although there may be a few common myths about arthritis, it is important to understand the effects of the condition on your joints. It is used to describe over 100 medical conditions but as long you know the facts about the disease, you can help to treat it by adapting parts of your lifestyle.

What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a term used to describe a large number of medical conditions and is a common issue that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. Affecting people of all ages, arthritis is a form of joint disorder that can occur at any time but is often linked to your genetic makeup.

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Causes of Arthritis
Arthritis can be caused due to a few different reasons and is commonly linked to family history. One common cause of the condition is when there is a reduction in the normal amount of cartilage tissue, this is the tissue that connects and protects joints in the body. Although this is usually caused by wear and tear, this breakdown of cartilage can be increased due to an infection or injury. Another form of arthritis can occur when the immune system attacks the tissues of the body. This is known as rheumatoid arthritis which can seriously harm both the bone and cartilage inside a joint. Although the exact cause of these attacks is yet to be discovered, this is also more likely to occur depending on your genes.

Symptoms of Arthritis
The most obvious symptoms of arthritis occur in the joints and this may mean pain, stiffness and swelling of the affected areas on a more permanent basis. In addition, this may result in limitations of movement, tiredness or loss of appetite. If left untreated, severe rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint deformity.

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Treatment
While the main aim of treatment is to reduce the amount of pain you’re suffering from, it is also important to prevent any further damage to the joints. Even simple changes to your lifestyle such as weight loss and less vigorous exercise may help to reduce the pain your experience. Other solutions include the use of support pillows and for more serious conditions, you may be prescribed different treatments.

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