Arthritis: The Basics

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint where two bones meet. Arthritis is characterised by stiffness, pain and swelling around the joints.

However, just because these symptoms are present doesn't automatically mean you have the disease. You may also experience muscle strain, bursitis or tendinitis.

Different types of arthritis can have various causes, which may lead to additional symptoms. Therefore, it is possible that you will need a range of treatment options.

Your doctor should confirm that you are suffering from arthritis.

There are many types of arthritis. Of the over 100 possible forms of arthritis there, two are most prevalent: osteoarthritis (also known as rheumatoid arthritis) and rheumatoid.

Osteoarthritis (the most common) affects over 32 million Americans. It is a condition that mostly affects older adults. The mechanical form, also known as "wear and tear" osteoarthritis is when the protective cartilage at the bones' ends wears away.

This second most prevalent type of arthritis affects 1.3 Million Americans. The body's immune system becomes dysfunctional and attacks your joints. This is called autoimmune disease. This can happen at any time in your life. However, it usually starts between the ages of 30 and 50. In women, it's more frequent than that for men.

Gout, infectious (septic), arthritis, juvenile arthritis and ankylosing Spondylitis are all other less-common types of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis can be caused by: Others may be caused by repetitive movements, such as swinging a tennis stick or hammer many times. However, it is not known why some are more susceptible to developing arthritis than others. It is possible that your genes may play an important role in the development of arthritis, especially for those people who have it early on.

Osteoarthritis can also be caused by:

Obesity (puts greater strain on weight-bearing joint, especially the knees). Injury or trauma to joints. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) : Doctors are aware that your immune system misunderstands and attacks your joints (autoimmune disease), but don't know how it occurs. Your risk for developing RA is increased by certain things. These things include:

It is more common in older women and in younger men. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint but it is more common in the spine, knees and hips.

You will feel most stiff and uncomfortable in the morning, when you first wake up. Your joints may not move as freely now as they did in the past. Crepitus can cause a feeling of crunch or pain when your joints are moving (crepitus).

Over time, signs and symptoms can build up as the cartilage loses its ability to support bone. This can alter the appearance and shape of joints over time. Nerve damage may result in severe cases from bony growths (called spurs), especially near the spine. These can alter your posture, making it more difficult to move around.

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by pain and swelling of the hand joints. It is possible to notice it in your elbows, wrists, shoulders and knees.

RA symptoms usually present more rapidly than OA. They can become worse for a while (flare), and then get better over time (remission). RA symptoms and signs might include the following:

Multiple tender or swollen joints. More than one stiff and painful joint. Unexplained fatigue. Unexplained weight gain. Without proper treatment, RA can lead to a misalignment of the hands and feet. Muscles weaken and tendons become out of place. A rarer form of RA is damage to the skin and eyes. Most people can avoid severe disability by getting treatment for rheumatoidarthritis early.

Diagnostics A doctor will examine you, take your complete health history and talk to any relatives about their health. The doctor will examine you and ask questions about your health. The doctor may also take images of your joints, test your blood and urine. If your doctor suspects you may have RA they might refer you to a rheumatologist.

The type and severity of your arthritis will play a major role in the treatment you choose. Although your doctor may be able to help with managing symptoms and other complications, the treatment you receive will depend on what symptoms you are experiencing.

A lot of factors can play a role in your condition, including changes to your diet , lifestyle and exercise habits. Once you have established a plan that works for your situation, both your doctor and yourself should agree to it. You might need to take a variety of over-the-counter or prescription medicines, as well as heat, ice and physical therapy. Braces are just one example.

In severe cases, or last resort, your health care provider may suggest surgery.

There are other types of arthritis Ankylosingspondylitis, which is an inflammation of your hips, spine and pelvis joints, can also be called Arthritis. Your doctor will help you to manage your symptoms. There is no cure.

Similar to RA, symptoms can flare up then improve for a time before returning. Severe pains and stiffness of the hips and lower back are common. You may also experience the following symptoms:

It is common to feel back pain or stiffness early in the morning.

Gout occurs when the waste product uric acids builds up in your bloodstream and crystallizes inside and around the joints. It is most commonly the great toe and ankle but can also occur at the elbow, wrists, knees, elbows, wrists, and foot joints. It can cause a swelling and pain in the joint. A doctor will be able to help with medication and rest. You can prevent future attacks by using medication, better eating habits and exercising more.

There are many types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The whole body can be affected by Still's disease. This disease can cause daily high fevers, low blood count (anemia), and other symptoms. This can affect the eyes, nervous system and heart.

Some forms of juvenile RA may be more similar to adult RA, and the treatment process is almost the same. Long-term disability in children is much less common than for adults if the disease is treated early.

A viral or bacterial infection can lead to infectious arthritis. It can travel from other areas of the body to reach a joint, or it may enter directly through an injury to that joint. You can get infection from staph, tuberculosis or gonorrhea.