Arthritis is a common disorder (disease) that affects your joints. The term arthritis describes pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness in or surrounding a joint or joints that makes it difficult to move or stay active. Arthritis is a rheumatic condition that manifests in different forms, causing different symptoms and may require different treatments.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 54.4 million adults in the United States and about 10 million in the UK have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis.
What are the common types of arthritis?
Osteoarthritis refers to one of the most common forms of arthritis or joint disease. This condition affects the entire joint, including bones, ligaments, cartilage and muscles. Osteoarthritis is often described as ‘wear and tear’, but such a description doesn’t fit the condition accurately. Medically, it’s also thought that the condition is the impact of the self-repair process of the joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) refers to a common form of arthritis characterized by inflammation. It is an autoimmune disease that comes with pain and swelling of the joints. An autoimmune disease means your own healthy tissues get attacked by your immune system. With Rheumatoid arthritis presence in your joints, your immune system targets the joint lining and the result is inflammation and damage of the joint.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) describes a form of arthritis that affects mainly the spine. The condition causes the inflammation of joints of the back, neck and pelvis, leading to pain and stiffness. AS can also affect other body joints, for instance, hips and shoulders, as well as even the eyes, bowel, skin, and lungs. The condition usually becomes symptomatic from the ages of 15 to 45 years.
Psoriatic arthritis is another condition that inflames the joints, bringing about painful, stiff and often swollen joints. One specific detail here is that psoriatic arthritis only affects people who have been infected by a skin disease called psoriasis.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis refers to several types of arthritis that occur in children. JIA is also an autoimmune condition. What happens involves a child’s body immune system not doing its job as a protective mechanism against infection but instead mistakenly attacking healthy body cells.
Fibromyalgia is a common group of symptoms characterized by generalised pain, muscle stiffness and extreme fatigue. They may vary from very mild to severe. Fibromyalgia may take many years or become periodic. People infected by this condition end up managing the resultant pain and fatigue well when they stick to medical advice.
Gout is another common and painful condition affecting the joints. This type of arthritis involves the formation of small crystals in and around the joint that cause inflammation, swelling and pain. A gout attack often occurs quite quickly and often overnight. This causes the joint to become very red, swollen and so painful. Gout attacks normally affect one joint at a time, especially the big toe joint.
Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus)
Systemic lupus erythematosus (also referred to as SLE or lupus) is another autoimmune condition. Remember that the normal function of your body’s immune system is to combat any infections and diseases that try to attack you. This keeps you healthy. In an autoimmune infection such as lupus, your immune system begins to attack your own body’s healthy tissues instead.
Do you want to learn from more important facts about arthritis? Go straight to my next article and read it.
Have fun learning about arthritis.