The first step in understanding arthritis is finding out what specific type of arthritis you have. This can be done through several tests which differentiate the causes and will help to develop a course of treatment. Arthritis is a common term for inflammation of joints; however, many diseases can cause arthritis.
Causes of arthritis can range from osteoarthritis (protective cartilage surrounding your bones starts to deteriorate) to rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disorder where an overactive immune system attacks normal tissues). Most importantly, arthritis may be a sign of other systemic inflammatory processes which can lead to other chronic diseases.
Each form of arthritis has a particular cause and unique needs to address. Causes include injury (leading to osteoarthritis), metabolic abnormalities (such as gout and pseudogout), hereditary factors and infections. Arthritis can be caused by tick bites, such as in Lyme’s disease. It can be caused by a diet high in animal fats or other foods that increase inflammation systemically.
Next: Common tests for arthritis