The word “Arthritis” originates from “arthro,” which translates to “joint,” and “itis,” which translates to “inflammation.” Amazingly, this term is used to comprise over 100 different, yet related conditions.
For example, these joint issues can range from relatively mild cases of bursitis or tendonitis to much more severe and crippling forms of inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Conditions known as pain syndromes, such as fibromyalgia, as well as systemic lupus erythematous which involves every portion of the body, are also related. Other representations of the disease, such as gout, are additionally related, however, they are rarely connected.
Pain In The Joints
The common thread connecting the above-mentioned diseases is musculoskeletal pain and joint pain. This is why these varied conditions are grouped together under the common umbrella called “arthritis.”
Inflammation is often the body’s natural response to injury, and inflammation of the lining within the joints is common.
Additional symptoms include pain, the affected joint being hot to the touch, swelling and redness. Once the joint is inflamed, it may develop all of these symptoms or a portion of them. Obviously, this can become excruciating and the normal movement of the joint can become extremely limited. Everyday activities may become difficult and loss of motion can occur.
Different Types of Arthritis
Unfortunately, arthritis can affect anyone, although some specific types affect certain demographics more. There are several types of arthritis that may affect people of any age, race or gender.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to help the body facilitate healing and help to eliminate or reduce the inflammatory response that is responsible for the condition.
Arthritis at Any Age
Children and babies as well as young adults can suffer from this condition. Statistics show that approximately 3 people out of 5 who have arthritis are under 65 years of age.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the type of arthritis that can cause the bones to appear disfigured or deformed. It’s an insidious disease whereby the body’s own immune system attacks the joints and surrounding tissues, and in some cases cause problems in other parts of the body.
It causes painful swelling, in which case anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed as there is no natural cure.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
This condition is also called idiopathic arthritis. This type of arthritis affects children and adolescents below the age of sixteen. Reddish, swollen joints accompanied by pain are some of the most common symptoms.
Some children and adolescents experience its symptoms for just a few months, whilst others suffer for the rest of their lives. Treatment is mostly focused on keeping the pain under control, preventing the occurrence of any complications and in improving the mobility and joint functions.
Often called “wear and tear arthritis.” This type is characterized by stiffness and joint pain due to cartilage erosion within in a joint. It commonly affects the hips, hands, spine and knees in menopausal women and the elderly.
Fingers and toes are the areas’ most susceptible to this kind of joint erosion arthritis that affects patients with psoriasis. Fingernails may become deeply ridged and pitted in affected individuals.
Gout or Gouty Arthritis
This acute form of arthritis results from a disturbance of protein metabolism in the body. In this situation, uric acid production is increased and deposits of uric acid crystals can accumulate within the joints. The toes, fingers and knees are most commonly affected.
Normally, excess crystals are eliminated via the urine. However, they can build up and cause crystal formation if any issues arise with the elimination process. If left untreated, the arterial system can become affected.
An individual with this type of arthritis will experience sudden attacks of joint pain accompanied by redness and swelling in the affected area.
In most cases, the joint on the big toe is the first one to be affected while the toes on the other side of the body as well as the knees can also experience pain.
Men are ten times more likely to suffer from this condition than women. People who are obese, overweight, alcoholic (or drink in excess), face a higher risk of having gouty arthritis.
This type of arthritis commonly affects the wrists and knees. However, it may also affect the ankles, finger joints, shoulders, hips and elbows. Pseudoarthritis occurs when the calcium pyrophosphate crystals (CPP) accumulate in the cartilage.
The formation of CPP can be caused by having abnormal cells in the cartilage. It can also be caused by injury and/or surgery. In some cases, pseudogout arthritis can also be hereditary.
This form of arthritis results from an infection caused by bacteria, fungi or a virus that gets into the bloodstream affecting the joints. It can also occur as a result of an infection in an area near the joint. Infectious arthritis can either be acute or chronic.
- Chronic infectious arthritis is caused by fungi, or mycobacterium that also causes tuberculosis. This type of infectious arthritis develops gradually over a period of several weeks.
- Acute infectious arthritis can be caused by viruses and bacteria. This type of arthritis can develop quickly and the cartilage or joint affected can be damaged within a few hours or days.
This type of arthritis results from the blood getting into the person’s joints leading to inflammation, and may occur as a result of trauma, injury, lesion or cut to the joint. People who have hemophilia A, hemophilia B and sickle cell disease face a higher risk of hemorrhagic arthritis.
Therapy for this kind of arthritis will usually depend on its cause.
There are many types of arthritis, so don’t self-diagnose. If you feel any pain in the joints, check with your health care professional.