Arthritis is an illness that affects joints, causing pain, inflammation and/or stiffness. There are over 100 different types of arthritis. This disease affects individuals of diverse ages, race and sex. Unfortunately, women are more predisposed to developing arthritis, as well as the elderly.
Even though there are many different types of arthritis, 3 are most common, and affect the majority of individuals.
This type of arthritis is also referred to as RA. RA is an autoimmune illness that attacks certain parts of the body, especially the joints. It causes inflammation, and in some cases, stark joint deterioration. RA more often than not, affects several joints simultaneously. People who suffer from this disease often experience flares, when the symptoms manifest. But then, they also have moments when they experience no symptoms, and tend to be absolutely fine.
Common symptoms of RA include nodules, which appear as a protrusion or overgrowth around the joint area, stiffness of the joint and pain, swelling around the affected joint area, fatigue, weight loss and lack of appetite.
RA is usually treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which help alleviate the pain and swelling. Corticosteroid drugs also help with lowering the inflammation and pain. Patients are also given anti-rheumatic drugs, which help modify the progression of the illness. In cases where severe damage to a joint occurs, surgery to replace the specific joint can be performed.
Osteoarthritis refers to the wear and tear that occurs following overuse of joints. Overuse of a joint can transpire due to an injury, obesity, or age. When a joint starts wearing off, the cartilage, which acts as a cushion covering the ends of the bones, begins to break down. This type of arthritis develops gradually, over months or even years, causing extreme pain in the joints. It can affect one or multiple joints in the knees, ankles, elbows, hips, spine, wrists, and feet.
Just like with RA, people suffering from osteoarthritis get flares that make movement extremely painful and difficult. The disease can also cause inflammation, fever, and growths around the affected joints.
There’s no treatment for osteoarthritis, but you can manage it through medication and therapy. If you’re persistent in your therapy, you can improve the movement and flexibility of the joints. Also, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for managing this disease. Moderate and regular exercises also help strengthen the joints. But, stay clear of high-impact exercises, such as jogging, because they could lead to more damage, especially in the knees.
This type of arthritis causes inflammation of both, skin and joints. The illness causes raised, patchy, red and white scaly inflammations on the skin, a condition known as psoriasis. Usually, you can find this type of skin inflammation on the knees, navel, elbows, scalp, and genital areas.
A very small percentage of people suffering from psoriasis find themselves also dealing with psoriatic arthritis. This type of arthritis often affects individuals who are between 30 and 50 years of age. In rare cases, it can affect children as well.
The symptoms always begin with psoriasis, before it manifests on the joints. Other symptoms include swelling of fingers and toes, pitted and/or discolored fingernails, and pain in the area of the affected joints.
Treatment includes administration of anti-inflammatory and corticosteroid medicines, used to reduce the pain and swelling, as well as anti-rheumatic medications for modifying the disease.