Causes of arthritis

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Many forms of arthritis do not have an identifiable cause. However, many do. Examples include gout, pseudogout, Lyme disease, and septic arthritis.

Nonetheless, while much is known about disease progression and while treatments are becoming more sophisticated, the exact cause for most types of arthritis remains a mystery… despite what many tabloids and websites hawking various cures might have you believe. The following is a rundown on what we do know about some forms of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA): OA is a degenerative (wear and tear) type of arthritis process. The cartilage, which is the protective gristle at the end of long bones, begins to wear away. While OA is generally a mechanical process, it also has an inflammatory component to it. The underlying factors that are most important to the development of OA are genetic factors and a history of trauma. OA is most common in weight-bearing areas such as the neck, low back, hips, and knees. Why the cartilage wears away in OA is still not entirely known.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): RA is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory process that leads to a destructive arthritis of all joints. The underlying problem is a disorder of the immune system that leads to the production of inflammatory enzymes and cells that lead to damage of multiple organ systems, the most visible being the joints. The exact cause of RA remains unknown.

Gout and pseudogout: These two forms of arthritis are due to the excessive production of crystals of monosodium urate (gout) and calcium pyrophosphate (pseudogout). The underlying cause appears to be a genetically related disorder of metabolism.

Infectious arthritis: This type of arthritis is caused by either a bacterium, fungus, or virus that causes an infection of a joint.

Lyme disease: This is a type of arthritis that is caused by a spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi)- a type of bacteria. The spirochete is transmitted by the bite of a deer tick.

Lupus: Lupus is an autoimmune disease affecting mostly women. It can cause significant damage to multiple organ systems. Its severity can range from very mild to very serious depending on which body organs are affected. Lupus (also called systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE) is an autoimmune disease. The immune system is over-active and produces abnormal antibodies that attack the patient's own tissues. Lupus can affect many organ systems, including the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, nervous system, and blood vessels. The signs and symptoms of lupus differ from person to person, and the disease can range from very mild to life-threatening.

Other medical conditions have arthritis as a complication. These include:

• Acromegaly
• Behcet's Disease
• Crohn's disease
• Flat feet
• Food poisoning
• Gout
• Hemochromatosis
• Hemophilia
• Non-Specific Urethritis
• Paget's disease of bone
• Primary biliary cirrhosis
• Reiter’s syndrome
• Sarcoidosis
• Scarlet fever
• Sjogren's Syndrome
• Streptococcal Infections
• Inflammatory bowel disese
• Whipple's Disease

Get more information about causes of arthritis as well as...

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Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

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