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Developing arthritis was once considered to be an inevitable part of aging, but this may no longer be accurate. While some types of this debilitating disease are still believed to be hereditary, other types may be more closely related to injuries, infections, immune system dysfunctions, or even the patient's metabolism process.
According to a definition provided by the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is not just one disease. Instead, it has become the common name for a wide variety of pains and diseases that affects the joints in the body. In fact, there are dozens of types of arthritis currently recognized by the medical community.
Lyme's disease and arthritis
Some of the most exciting information to come out of arthritis research is its link to Lyme's disease, a serious illness spread by the bite of an infected tick. If discovered quickly and treated aggressively, Lyme's disease can often be cured or controlled with an extended course of antibiotics. Cases that are not discovered and treated early, however, can create a host of uncomfortable symptoms, including debilitating joint pain and mobility issues and the development of arthritis.
Symptoms of Lyme's disease most often strike major joints of the body, including ankles, hips, wrists and elbows. In some cases, a fever will accompany the initial joint pain. Even when untreated, the joint pain can seem to improve after a period of time. Unfortunately, this does not mean that the disease has run its course. Instead, it may recur months or years later, often becoming more difficult or even impossible to treat. Since Lyme's disease is now found in many areas of the nation, staying alert for tick bites and seeking proactive treatment is crucial to avoiding the development of this type of arthritis.
Metabolism's link to arthritis
Another interesting result of recent arthritis research shows that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may be directly related to the patient's metabolism. According to a recent Chinese study, abnormal glucose metabolism was discovered to occur much more often in RA patients than in the general population. Researches associate this finding with insulin resistance and the resulting inflammation it causes, among other findings.
Because some types of arthritis can strike at any stage of life, anyone who suspects their joint pain or stiffness may be related to it should seek medical care immediately. Arthritis laboratory services can perform concise tests to help doctors determine the arthritis type so that appropriate medical care can be given. Patients with arthritis who take a proactive stance regarding their medical care and treatment will be able to more effectively manage pain and avoid complications.