Arthritis is among the oldest known afflictions of human beings. It has been found in the mummies of Egypt and in skeletons in excavations of other ancient civilizations. The word arthritis means joint inflammation, but it is often used more broadly to indicate rheumatic diseases. Such disorders can affect not only the joints but also other connective tissues of the body. These include important supporting structures, like muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as the protective coverings of internal organs. This reaction is similar to an allergy, in which the body often reacts with a runny nose and itchy eyes. In arthritis, the autoimmune response can lead to permanent, painful changes in the joints. The joints are the intersections of two bones and are covered with cartilage like a smooth, durable substance that allows bones to glide over each other with least friction. Cartilage also acts as a cushioning device to absorb forces. A structure called joint capsule surrounds stabilizes and protects the joint. Within the capsule is a synovial membrane that contains synovial fluid as similar to oil that transports nutrients to the cartilage and keeps its surface well lubricated so the joints can work smoothly.
Risk factors and remedy
The risk of developing arthritis increases with age. Arthritis often begins soon after age 40 after years of wear and tear on the joints. In general, arthritis occurs more often in women than in men. Mostly women are at higher risk of many forms of arthritis than men. More women than men get arthritis. This tends to begin in young or middle-aged women. The pain and exhaustion often lead to anger and worries about coping with the demands of family life and careers. People who are plump have a higher chance of developing arthritis. Excess weight increases the risk for developing arthritis in the knees. This may also apply to the hips and hands. Women are at particular risk for this. In men, excess weight increases the risk for developing gout. People who are more than 10 pounds overweight have a higher risk for arthritis, mainly in weight-bearing joints like the knees. Increased weight puts significantly more pressure on joints causing cartilage to break down faster than usual. A past harsh knee injury can also damages cartilage and leads to quicker breakdown adds to arthritis risk. Joint injuries caused by accidents or overuse increase the risk for arthritis.