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What is Arthritis? by Dr. Humeira Badsha

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ARTHRITIS is a general term which is used to refer to anything which affects a joint. There are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis. The most common type, osteoarthritis, usually affects people over the age of 60. This is a wear and tear or degenerative disease. The cartilage between your bones wears off very much like the brake pads in your car. However, many types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can affect even babies. These forms of arthritis which affect young people can be very destructive, causing deformities and disabilities at a young age. These kinds are usually due to inflammation where there is swelling within the joints which can eat into the bone and cartilage.

Picture of normal joint

The space between 2 bones is called a joint. There are more than 150 joints in our bodies. There are different ways that a joint helps our body move: a shoulder is a ball and socket joint and can rotate, an elbow is a hinge joint and can bend and open, while pivot joints help us turn our head.

Picture of diseased joint

Picture of inflamed joint

Each joint is enclosed by a membrane called synovium which produces a small amount of oily fluid which lubricates our joints. The ends of bones are covered by a thick cushion called cartilage. Some joints are surrounded by cushions called bursae, ligaments which act as ropes to keep the joint in place, muscles which help move the joint and tendons which are the ends of muscles which attach to the bone. These structures which surround the joint, such as bursae, ligaments, tendons and muscles are called soft tissues.

This is one of a set of articles by Dr. Humeira Badsha, Specialist Rheumatologist, for patient awareness.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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