Is Arthritis Contagious?

There are many causes of arthritis, and several different forms the condition can take. Some of these can be caused by another organism, but not from person to person contact. Arthritis is not contagious, per se. However, the same insect or bacteria can cause it in more than one person.

The most common form is osteoarthritis, caused by injuries and/or general wear and tear on the joint. A tendency towards it may run in families. If one or both of your parents have/had the problem, you are at risk for developing it. Knowing this can help you make decisions that will improve your joint health and decrease the severity of the potential problems.

Other forms of this condition may be a little more difficult to predict or prevent. There are a few things you can do, but you have to know about them in order to protect yourself and your family from them. Here are a few examples of what can cause the problem and possible solutions.

Auto-immune disorders: Rheumatoid arthritis is a general name applied to nearly two hundred different diseases, classified as an auto-immune disorder. That means your immune system doesn’t recognize some other part of your body and attacks it. In this instance, it is attacking your joints. It usually starts in the smaller ones such as those of your hands and feet, but it can attack the larger ones.

This disease can be debilitating, and progress to gradually worse symptoms, so early diagnosis is your best plan. You will probably need prescription medications to mitigate the damage. If you wish to use herbal preparations, you will have to coordinate these with your doctor, as some can affect the immune system and could interact.

Food: What you eat does more than just provide fuel for your body. It can also present some serious problems. One of them is gout, sometimes called gouty arthritis. The cause is a buildup of uric acid, which develops into crystals. These get deposited into your joints when they get too heavy for the blood to pump it around. The right big toe is usually the first area affected, and it is extremely painful.

Watching how much and what type of protein you ingest is your best defense. Purine, a substance found in all proteins breaks down to uric acid. Under normal conditions, your kidneys filter this out, but if there is too much and/or the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, it builds up.

Lyme Disease: Ticks can carry a bacteria which gets passed on to whatever it bites. This bacteria causes an inflammatory condition that can lead to debilitating arthritis if it isn’t caught early enough. Not all doctors believe this is a real disease, so you may need a second opinion if testing is not done. Your medical history, places you’ve been that may have allowed ticks access and blood tests will help with a diagnosis. It is important to catch it early.

The only way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid ticks. That may be easier said than done, but a good insect repellent, hats and protective clothing may help in this effort. If you do get bitten by a tick, watch for a round, red rash that has a bull’s eye center. That’s the first sign that you may have the disease.

Viral Arthritis: This is one type of arthritis that has a potential good outcome. Most people who develop it get over it in time. Several different viruses can be a culprit here, including mumps and rubella. This usually only needs supportive treatment such as pain relief and will disappear entirely for most patients.

Arthritis is a painful condition, but there are things that can be done. Work with your doctor until you find the best treatment program. Make sure the doctor knows any medications or supplements you are taking and if you have any other medical conditions. This will help prevent side effects and interactions.