We all heard the term ‘arthritis’ from our friends and family, at some point. It is often loosely used as an umbrella term for pain/inflammation in joints. But, do you know that in fact, there are nearly 100 types of arthritis and related conditions? Let us learn a little more about this very common condition, and understand its prevention and control.

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Arthritis is an umbrella term for pain/inflammation of joints

What is arthritis?

The place where two bones meet is called a joint. Arthritis is a group of conditions that lead to inflammation and pain in joints. It can be caused due to physical trauma, infection, or old age.

What are the different types of arthritis?

As mentioned earlier, there are over a 100 different types of arthritis. The following are the most commonly observed types:


This is the most common type of arthritis. Our bones are protected at the joints by a cushion-like layer of cartilage. In case of osteoarthritis, this layer of cartilage is damaged due to wear-and-tear or physical injury. This causes the bones at the respective joints to rub against each other, leading to pain and inflammation. The common causes of this condition include overweight, physical injury, old age, genetic predisposition.

Rheumatoid arthritis:

Our immune system is designed to attack infection by triggering physiological changes such as inflammation. However, in case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system is over-activated and attacks the joints with pain, stiffness, and inflammation.Those its exact causes are unclear, it is likely to be a result of a combination of genetic history and environmental triggers.


The food we consume contains chemical entities known as purines. The body breaks down purines to produce uric acid. In case of gout patients, the body fails to get rid of this uric acid quickly enough. This builds up in the body to form needle-like crystals in the joints which cause sudden spikes of extreme joint pain. This is called a gout attack. This condition can become chronic and can cause ongoing pain and disability, if not treated promptly.

What are its symptoms?

The following are the commonly observed symptoms of arthritis:

  • Swelling, pain and stiffness of joints
  • Decreased range of joint movements
  • Chronic pain
  • Difficulty in climbing stairs
  • Inability to walk long distances
  • It can even cause permanent joint changes such as knobby finger joints
  • Arthritis can also affect other parts of the body like heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin

How to prevent it?

Control your weight:

Excess body weight has been identified as a common risk factor for osteoarthritis. Too much body weight can increase pressure on the joints which in turn leads to faster wear and tear of the cartilaginous tissue. Healthy diet, active lifestyle and a daily exercise regimen can help you keep your weight in control. You can also take helpful suggestions from your dietician, for healthy eating habits.

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Arthritis is an umbrella term for pain/inflammation of joints

Choose joint friendly exercises:

High-impact exercises like running, can increase stress on the joints. Choose an exercise regimen that works best for your body, with mild exercises such as cycling or swimming. The idea is to stay active without stressing out your joints.

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Choose mild exercises such as cycling

Avoid injuries:

If you are planning to start a new exercise routine, remember to avoid those exercises that causes your joint pain to worsen. Injuries act as triggers to osteoarthritis. Therefore, avoid over-stressing your body by biting more than you can chew.

Stay hydrated:

Water is a wonder drink that keeps many diseases off your radar. Drinking adequate water every day helps in keeping your joints lubricated. At every joint, two bones are joined by a cartilagenous connective tissue. This tissue acts like a cushion and avoids friction between the two bone. As 70% of this tissue is made of water, drinking water is essential to keeping your joints healthy.

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Drink adequate water to keep your joints lubricated

Consume adequate Vitamin D:

Vitamin D plays a vital role in bone health as it aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus needed for keeping the bones healthy. Consume foods rich in vitamin D, such as eggs, meat, milk and salmon. Our body can also naturally synthesize vitamin D on exposure to sunlight. Therefore, exercising in the early morning sunlight is advisable.

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Consume adequate vitamin D for healthy bones

Appropriate changes in your diet and lifestyle can help you in preventing arthritis. In most cases, the exact cause of the condition is ambiguous. Therefore, prevention of arthritis is considered challenging. You can take more personalized advice and assistance from your physician. Remember, a stitch in time can indeed save nine!