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It is easy to fall prey to the common misconception that arthritis refers to one disease. On the contrary, this condition is a sort of "umbrella" term because it is used broadly to describe over 100 various types of joint afflictions. Arthritis is known as a disease that affects solely the elder population of the world; however, anyone can develop arthritis. This disease is very common among children and adults, but your risk may increase as you grow older.
As the human body ages, it becomes weaker and you may find that you are unable to engage in activities that you could do before. This is due to weaker muscles, bones, joints, and cartilage. You may have also heard that as we age, our bones begin to lose density and are more susceptible to breakage and fractures. While all of this is true, instead of fractures and sprains, most people experience joint inflammation.
Joint inflammation occurs when your immune system releases chemicals to the joints that may cause swelling, pain, stiffness, and discomfort. If untreated, inflammation can lead to permanent changes in your body's appearance. For instance, the joints within your fingers may become so stiff that your fingers seem to be "stuck" in one position.
There are four main types of arthritis: inflammatory, infectious, metabolic, and degenerative arthritis. As mentioned previously, inflammatory arthritis is caused by an overactive immune system and typically affects the smaller joints before progressing to the wrists, ankles, elbows, shoulders, and more. This form of arthritis must be treated during its early stages, or it could lead to permanent joint changes and chronic symptoms.
Infectious arthritis is caused by the appearance of a foreign invading body, such as a virus, fungi, or bacterium in the joint. This will trigger inflammation as the immune system works to fight against and remove these invading bodies. The administration of antibiotics can easily treat this form of arthritis; however, if early treatment is unsuccessful, this condition may become chronic.
Metabolic arthritis or gout is caused by high levels of uric acid near the joints. Uric acid is produced through natural metabolic processes within the body and excreted through urine. In some cases, a malfunctioning kidney or bladder can cause an accumulation of uric acid in the body. When this occurs, uric acid will accumulate near the joints and form crystal-like structures on them. As a result, a person suffering from gout may experience gout attacks or sudden bouts of severe joint pain.
The last type, degenerative arthritis, is the condition we all think of when we hear the word, "arthritis." This condition refers to the natural breakdown of joints that may come with age, injury, underlying diseases, or family history. Most of the time, this condition is very difficult to prevent and may require lifestyle or diet changes.
Often, a condition can be helped or worsened by the activities that you engage in or by the foods you consume. While the symptoms of arthritis may seem unbearable, medications can greatly help in relieving pain, stiffness, and general discomfort; however, these medications are not your only option. Studies have shown that diet changes can go a long way in relieving arthritis symptoms simply because most of us are eating the wrong foods.
Here is a shortlist of foods to avoid if you have been diagnosed with arthritis:
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