Is It Arthritis Making My Bones Ache And Joints Creak?

By: billyou1232
When asking what arthritis is, one must merely look to the roots of the word, which has Greek origins and literally translates into "Inflamed Joints." As diseases go, arthritis has had a long and prosperous history: Paleontologists have discovered signs of the bone disease in human skeletons that date as far back as 4500 BCE. Arthritis has been discovered in the buried remains of pre-colonial Native Americans as well as in ancient bodies all along Europe. Signs of arthritis have even been discovered in Egyptian mummies.

Despite the thousands of years that arthritis has plagued humanity, it wasn't until about 500 BCE that people discovered a way to relieve the primary symptom of arthritis: pain. Through one method or another, some bright soul discovered that willow bark relieved aches and joint stiffness, and this became the primary reagent in elixirs and potions for centuries. It wasn't until the early 1800's when the scientific community isolated the pain killer Salicin from the tree bark. Unfortunately, salicin by itself irritates the stomach, so it wasn't until 1897, when a dye company called The Bayer Company found a way to use Salicin without it being noxious. The resulting product was trademarked as Aspirin.

Arthritis comes in hundreds of individual forms, as it is a generic word for a specific type of ailment. One of the most common forms of arthritis is called Osteoarthritis (Osteo means "Relating to bones.") This type of arthritis is also referred to as Arhrosis, and in more colloquial terms, "wear-and-tear arthritis." A study in 2001 states that over 80% of the U.S. population will show signs of Osteoarthritis by age 65. Osteoarthritis is the natural result of aging, though it can also occur through damage to the joints.

Another common form of Arthritis, called rheumatoid arthritis, is actually a disorder of the immune system, where one's body is literally attacking its own joints. This type of arthritis manifests itself in many, sometimes in every joint at once, and causes soft tissues to swell. It is a chronic disorder that, if left unmanaged, can cause deformation of the hands (as the joints in the fingers begin to twist themselves due to swelling), deformation of the neck,

Unlike Osteoarthritis, which is attributable to old age, the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is entirely unknown, though many in the medical field believe it to be infectious. While rheumatoid arthritis can be treated with anti-inflammatories and analgesics, Xenobiotic agents are the only known treatment known to stunt the disease's progressions.

Gout is another type of arthritis, and is caused primarily my poor diet, where one consumes too many high purine foods, and not enough vitamin C and vitamin B complex. Gout manifests itself through the swelling of joints on the hands and feet, and often causes a large painful lump to appear on one's big toe.

Arthritis, although it exists in hundreds of forms, always has one common symptom: joint pain and stiffness. With common symptoms come common cures. Canes, walkers, and braces are all simple solutions that take the pressure off of an arthritic joint and help afflicted people move about in relative freedom. Bad arthritic conditions are sometimes treated with corrective surgery.

Not all arthritis is chronic and incurable, as its reputation lets on, and it can, nine times out of ten, have its progression slowed through proper diet, exercise, and discretion in one's daily activities.
Rheumatology
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