When you get older, your body is at risk for degeneration and other medical conditions that can affect your health, including arthritis. However, it can affect your joints at just about any age.
Our team at TruWell Health in St. Petersburg, Florida, led by orthopedic experts Dr. Michael MacMillan and Dr. Lora Brown, specializes in many different treatments for arthritis. Here, we help you determine your risk for arthritis so you can preserve your joints.
Arthritis is a term that describes a number of different conditions that affect the health of your joints. There are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis, and most of them lead to pain. A few of the more common types of arthritis are:
Osteoarthritis, the most common type, is called degenerative arthritis because it’s caused by the deterioration of the cartilage that protects the bones in your joint. Once this occurs, your joints don’t have the support they need, which often leads to inflammation and pain.
Inflammatory arthritis is another common type of this disease, and the best-known type is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is damage in your joints caused by an attack from your immune system, which leads to inflammation and pain in your joints.
Lupus is another type of inflammatory arthritis caused by an attack from your immune system. It can lead to inflammation in your organs, as well as your joints.
Gout is caused by an abundance of uric acid in your joints — usually in your foot. The big toe is most commonly affected, and gout often leads to pain that lasts for a few days.
So how do you know if you have arthritis? Joint pain is the most common symptom of arthritis, but others include:
- Decreased mobility
- Redness of the joint
Not every type of arthritis has the same symptoms, and your symptoms may come and go or be constant.
Are you at risk?
Like many other diseases, there are certain risk factors that make it much more likely that you’ll end up with arthritis. Unfortunately, some of the most common risk factors for arthritis aren’t controllable.
However, understanding all your risks is the best way for you to avoid the pain of this disease. Here are a few of the most common factors that play a role in your chance of getting arthritis:
Arthritis tends to set in as people age — especially osteoarthritis. The longer you use your joints, the more they wear down the protective cartilage inside. They also begin to lose some of the lubricating synovial fluid that helps them function smoothly. The resulting friction leads to inflammation, stiffness, and pain — arthritis.
Having a family history of arthritis puts you at a higher risk for the disease. You may also be born with certain genes that predispose you to certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
When you injure one of your joints, it can cause osteoarthritis down the road. This is also true if you overuse your joints. The wear and tear over time, especially if you don’t seek treatment, can lead to joint damage.
It’s no surprise that excess weight puts a lot of added pressure on your body. Your joints, unfortunately, take the brunt of the weight, often leading to osteoarthritis of your knees and hips.
Infections, especially those left untreated, can lead to irreversible damage in one or more of your joints. The best thing you can do is get treatment as soon as possible if you notice warmth or redness in one of your joints.
If you have a job or hobby that requires you to use repetitive motions, you’re more likely to suffer from arthritis down the road.
The link between smoking and rheumatoid arthritis isn’t well understood, but it may be caused by a nicotine-triggered faulty immune response. Smoking not only puts you at a higher risk, it also interferes with some RA treatments and may put you in danger of developing interstitial lung disease.
Gender also plays a role in your risk for arthritis. If you’re a woman, you’re also much more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, while men are at a higher risk for gout.
If you fall under any of these categories, it may seem like you’re destined to end up with some type of arthritis. But with Dr. Brown and Dr. MacMillan on your side, you’ll get the treatment and the guidance you need to successfully manage your arthritis symptoms.
If you’d like to learn more about your body and arthritis, call our office today at 727-361-2162 or book an appointment online to learn more about the treatments we offer.