Arthritis

Overview

Arthritis refers to the swelling and tenderness in one or more joints. Arthritis is characterized by stiffness and joint pain, which can get worse with age. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis causes cartilage, the hard, slippery tissue covering the ends of bones that form a joint, to wear down. Rheumatoid is a condition in which the immune system attacks joints. It starts with the lining of the joints.

Gout can be caused by uric acid crystals. These crystals form when your body has too much uric acids. Other types of arthritis can be caused by infections or other underlying diseases, such as Lupus or psoriasis.

The type of arthritis will determine the treatment options. Arthritis treatments aim to improve quality of life and reduce symptoms.

Types

  1. Ankylosing spondylitis
  2. Gout
  3. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  4. Osteoarthritis
  5. Psoriatic arthritis
  6. Reactive arthritis
  7. Rheumatoid arthritis
  8. Septic arthritis
  9. Thumb arthritis

Signs

The joints are the most common sign and symptoms of arthritis. Your signs and symptoms will vary depending on what type of arthritis you have.

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Reduced range of motion

Causes

Both osteoarthritis (the main type of arthritis) and rheumatoid arthritis (the secondary form) cause joint damage in different ways.

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Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It involves wear-and tear to the cartilage, the hard, slick covering on the ends and bones of the joint. Although cartilage protects the ends of bones and allows for almost frictionless joint movement, enough damage can cause bone grinding and pain. This wear and tear may occur over many years or can be accelerated by an injury or infection to the joint.

Osteoarthritis can also affect the whole joint. Osteoarthritis can cause changes in bones and degeneration of connective tissues, which attach muscle to bone and keep the joint together. It can also cause inflammation of the joint’s lining.

Rheumatoid arthritis

The body’s immune system attacks a joint capsule’s lining, which is a tough membrane that surrounds all parts of the joint. The lining, also known as the synovial membrane, becomes inflamed or swollen. This disease can eventually lead to the destruction of cartilage and bone in the joint.

Risk factors

These are some risk factors for arthritis:

  • The family historyCertain types of arthritis can run in families. If your siblings or parents have it, you might be more susceptible to developing the disease. Environmental factors can trigger arthritis. Your genes may make you more vulnerable.
  • AgeAge increases the risk of developing many types arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid.
  • Your sex.Rheumatoid is more common in women than it is in men. However, most people with gout (another type of arthritis) are men.
  • Previous joint injury.People who have suffered injuries to a joint while playing a sport are more likely eventually to develop arthritis in the same joint.
  • Obesity.Exercising excessively can cause joint stress, especially your hips, knees, and spine. Obese people are at greater risk for developing arthritis.

Complications

If severe arthritis affects your hands and arms, it can make it difficult to perform daily tasks. Weight-bearing arthritis can make it difficult to walk comfortably and keep you straight. Sometimes, the joints can become twisted or deformed.

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