Arthritis has a way of not being understood, but, according to the National Arthritis Foundation website, it affects over 50 million adults and 300,000 children in the United States.
While not being a single disease, ‘arthritis’ is the informal way of referring to joint disease and pains. With more than 100 different types of arthritis, it is often hard to determine whether one is dealing with a simple pain or something more.
Most Common Types of Arthritis
Let’s take a look at just four of the most common types of arthritis; Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Gout.
Each of these four types of arthritis affects the body differently and, therefore, carry their own distinct symptoms.
Osteoarthritis is the most common degenerative disease of the joints as it affects the cartilage and/or cushion between the joints. The result? Pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Sore and stiff joints, mostly in the hips, knees, and lower back, that flare up especially after inactivity or overuse. Due to the pain of movement, osteoarthritis causes a sedentary lifestyle, which can lead to diabetes and heart disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack itself. Since symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may come and go, they are often hard to diagnosis, thus, sufferers find themselves with a puzzle of mystery symptoms.
Joint pains and tenderness, often with some degree of fever are experienced. In the early stages, there may only be minor swelling, tenderness, and redness but this may increase to lasting for longer than 30 minutes. Unlike osteoarthritis, RA can also affect organs and body systems, such as eyes, mouth, and skin.
The lungs can become affected with inflammation and scarring, leading to shortness of breath. Inflammation of blood vessels can lead to damage of nerves and skin. Overall, RA can wreck havoc on your body and can cause aches and pains long before it is diagnosed.
Fortunately, there are medications available today that can offer a degree especially for RA symptoms and joint relief.
This form of arthritis may surprise many, but approximately 30 percent of adults suffering from psoriasis (a skin disease characterized by itchy, scaly rashes), also have this form of inflammatory arthritis. These symptoms are triggered by an overactive immune system.
Most individuals with psoriatic arthritis suffer from the skin symptoms prior to the joint symptoms. Joint symptoms include joint pain and stiffness. This disease may lay dormant for a while and be triggered by outside influences.
There are five specific types of psoriatic arthritis: Symmetric psoriatic arthritis that affects the same joints on both sides of the body; Asymmetric psoriatic arthritis, which affects different joints on either side of the body; Distal psoriatic arthritis, which causes inflammation and stiffness at the toes and fingers, often affecting the nails; and Spondylitis arthritis mutilans, the most severe, as it causes deformities in the small joints of the fingers and toes.
Psoriatic Arthritis: Causes and Treatments You Really Need to Know
Generally caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood, this type of arthritis can cause severe episodes of tenderness, pain, swelling, and redness.
The first symptom is an excruciating pain and swelling, often in the big toe. It may also occur in a lower joint of the body like the knee or ankle. Gout can also be associated with other serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and kidney failure.
This is just a brief summary of the many facets of arthritis. As previously noted, there are literally hundreds of diseases that can be associated with arthritis. The National Arthritis Foundation website at www.arthritis.org can guide you through the maze of confusion that this one disease can cause. Take the time to educate yourself to learn if those mystery symptoms are signs of arthritis.
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