Arthritis and its Effects on Seniors

When many people think of arthritis, they consider it to be an elderly disease that affects seniors, without realizing that it can affect those of all ages. Arthritis is a broad term, used to describe a group of related diseases, which often affect mobility and are more common with age, but can also be found in children. These conditions can have a major impact on the way a person lives, affecting nearly every facet of their life.

Despite there being over a hundred types of arthritis, around ten different kinds make up the overwhelming majority of reported arthritis cases. Of these ten, the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis(RA.) The exact factors that cause arthritis are largely unknown and, as is especially the case of RA, much has yet to be discovered, a great deal of time has been spent learning about rheumatoid disorders.

A number of similarities exist between these kinds of arthritis and when the end results of the diseases are considered, this is even more true. However, they are also quite different in the ways they affect the body and joints.

As an example, consider osteoarthritis, which is the the single most prevalent type of senior arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative arthritis, where the normal areas around the joint begin to deteriorate until the bones eventually begin to rub directly against one another. This can be very painful and often causes inflammation around the joint, as small pieces of bone break off. Bone deformity will also often occur in this area, especially when smaller joints, like those in the hand, are affected.

In rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation is a major symptom and is responsible for the autoimmune response that eats away at the joint. Even though symptoms are, in some ways, parallel, the autoimmune response is what is responsible for the inflammation and cartilage loss in RA, where in osteoarthritis it is a side-effect.

While a number of the risk factors of this kind of arthritis are different, largely because osteoarthritis is a kind of degenerative arthritis, where RA is related to an autoimmune disorder, obesity is one common factor. Obesity carries with it a number of risks, including heart disease, but can also increase the risk of arthritis development.

The risk associated with obesity is largely the result of more weight being placed on the body's joints. This weight can, over time, cause more wear on weight bearing joints, like hips, which in turn causes the likelihood of arthritis to increase. While this risk is largest with osteoarthritis, other types of arthritis are also more common with those who are overweight or obese.

Arthritis is a common senior related disorder and, despite affecting even young children, it is still most common with age. This is why many focus on this as being senior related diseases.

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