While a few cases of arthritis may be seen in the below thirty age group, research has shown that arthritis predominantly affects the middle aged. Doctors, however say that the disease starts affecting your joints from as early as the late twenties, early thirties. The only thing is that we do now know of this, till the pain begins. Which is why, it is advisable that as you cross the age of 35, you start preparing yourself for potential aches and pains that might just seem to develop overnight. That is even if you feel completely healthy and fit, at the moment.
Arthritis has been found to have a direct relationship with how active a person is and consequently the wear and tear of the tissues of the joints. Hence, in modern times, it is increasingly affecting a very young population.
Along with the daily necessary movement, ignoring active participation in sports, exercise, old injuries and a poor diet have also been found to contribute to arthritis in the early 40’s bracket. But then you could have led an active life and still develop severe joint pain. So the bottom line is that arthritis is the combination of a genetic predisposition and the interactive environmental factors.
Though there are over a hundred types, arthritic occurs mostly in two forms – Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Osteoarthritis involves the wear and tear of the cartilage and is found in the joints for a large percentage of those suffering from this condition. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is the swelling and inflammation of the joints that might lead to some amount of cartilage degeneration, as well.
While researchers formerly thought that arthritis only centers on the cartilage, there is now evidence to show that everything from muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, play a role in the development and also be affected by this condition. Studies have also shown that there are a range of biochemical messages that are exchanged between all the above body parts. When these messages get interrupted or stop completely due to chronic overuse, it could result in severe pain and immobility.
Cartilage comprises of a large percentage of water that keeps the tissue lubricated and flexible. It also includes chondrocytes that replace dead tissue, a process that starts slowing down as you enter your forties. Exercising in moderation helps improve the functioning of the chondrocytes and also ensures the production of the fluids required for lubrication. That is one of the reasons why an active lifestyle is advised even if you are suffering from painful arthritis, as it helps prevent further degeneration.
But then again, all people are not equal and doctors are still to determine the exact causes of arthritis. Active athletes have been found to develop arthritis in different joints from those leading a sedentary life would. Women who have strong, healthy bones that do not get affected by osteoporosis might be battling inflamed joints and cartilage degeneration. And the reverse has also been found to be true.
Since the cause of this condition is still unknown, a number of doctors have now decided to focus on the remedy. Diet and vitamin supplements have been found to be beneficial in some cases. And invasive surgery that involves cartilage replacements have worked in others. But even after this painful procedure, the effect might not last long if you do not regularly exercise your joints. And while moderation is the key, engaging only in as much activity as you are comfortable with, can go a long way in helping you lead a happy and healthy life.