Arthritis is a complex medical condition. When thinking of arthritis, most people think of pain and inflammation in the joints. This is only partially correct. There is much more to this condition. Arthritis come from a Latin phrase, “arth” means joint and “it is” means inflammation. Arthritis has over 100 illnesses that are associated with it, ranging from tendinitis to rheumatoid arthritis.
The Most Common Types Of Arthritis
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, affecting more than 16 million people in the United States. Osteoarthritis is caused when the cartilage surrounding the ends of the bones begins to degenerate. Cartilage is the “cushion” between the ends of bones where they meet another bone. Some examples of this are knees, ankles, hips, elbows, and wrists. When the cartilage is gone then you have one bone rubbing against another bone. In severe cases you hear the bones grinding against each other. When someone first develops osteoarthritis they experience pain and stiffness in the affected joints. Inflammation and less range of motion usually occurs as the arthritis progresses. Deformity can occur, later on, due to the grinding which can wear away some of the bone on one side of the joint to a greater degree than the other.
The second most common form of arthritis, and the most severe is rheumatoid. It has developed in children and senior citizens, but most people who suffer from this form of arthritis develop symptoms between 25 and 50 years of age. Rheumatoid arthritis is also a type of inflammatory arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease. This is because there are other factors besides wear and tear of cartilage that can cause this disease. It can affect organs such as the heart, eyes, and lungs.
A characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis is that most often it affects the joints on both sides of the body. Examples are: both legs,both hands or both wrists will be affected at the same time. Symptoms are stiffness, swelling, pain, redness of the skin, weight loss, fatigue, and low-grade fever. Along with joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis can make a person feel sick. It can cause debilitation, but at times patients can have periods of remission. The symptoms may became much less severe, not interfering with your life as much.
Fibromyalgia is another form of arthritis. Somewhat different from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in that it does not directly affect the joints. It affects muscles, ligaments, tendons, and soft tissue under the skin. Many people with fibromyalgia have tender spots under the skin and even slight pressure to the area causes pain. Some of the symptoms are: deep muscle pain, sleeplessness, fatigue and at times depression. Although the symptoms may come and go, fibromyalgia is a long term and chronic disease.
Some Less Common Forms of Arthritis
Infectious arthritis is caused by an infection. Both bacterial and viral infections can cause this form of arthritis. Symptoms include swelling of the joint, warmth, soreness, leakage of tissue fluids, fever, and chills. Infectious arthritis comes on suddenly.
Gout usually affects the joints of the big toe. This type of arthritis can also affect the heels, ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows. Tenderness, pain, redness, warmth, and swelling of the affected joint are the most common symptoms.
Anklyosing Spondylitis is a chronic, inflammatory disease affecting the spine. Symptoms of this type of arthritis are, lower back pain and stiffness that can last more than three months. Weight-loss, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and low grade fever are also some of the more common symptoms.
Cervical arthritis affects the upper back and may cause neck and arm pain. The cause of this type of arthritis is the deterioration of the cartilage that protects the discs that support the neck. The most common symptom of this type of arthritis is chronic neck pain. Other symptoms may include headaches, muscle weakness, loss of balance, and stiffness.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis affects children with the most common symptoms being pain, swelling, and stiffness of joints. When children have been still, such as after a nap of waking in the morning, the symptoms are usually worse than when they are active. The cause of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. Children sometimes outgrow the disease and do not experience any symptoms. This is one way that it is different from adult rheumatoid arthritis.
As earlier stated, there are many types of arthritis. Listed here are just a few. Arthritis can be classified as any disease that involves inflammation, which is pain and swelling of joints or muscles. Depending on the type of arthritis, treatments are available, which differ for the particular type of arthritis. If you think you may have arthritis you should discuss this with your doctor. He or she can determine if you have arthritis and which type you have. Then he or she can inform you of the best treatment for the type you have.