A form of joint disorder, arthritis causes inflammation and stiffness in the joints. In this condition, a person experiences pain and swelling in the joints. It can affect people of all ages, sexes, and races; however, arthritis is most common among women. Today, arthritis is a major cause of disability in the United States. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children suffer from some or the other type of arthritis. The most common symptoms of arthritis include pain, swelling of the joint, stiffness and restricted physical movement. These symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe, and may progress or get worse with time.
In severe cases, one may experience chronic pain, difficulty in walking or climbing stairs and inability to do daily chores. The joint can also change permanently leading to knobby fingers. However, often joint damage can only be evident on x-ray. Out of the different types of arthritis, some may also affect eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, and skin, along with the joints.
The Different Types of Arthritis Include:
Degenerative Arthritis: This type of arthritis is called Osteoarthritis and is the most common form. In this, the cartilage between the bones wears away which leader to bone rubbing against the bone. This causes pain, stiffness, and swelling. One may get effect due to excess weight, age, family history or previous injury.
Inflammatory Arthritis: Psoriatic and Rheumatoid arthritis are examples of inflammatory arthritis. In this case, the body’s immune system gets confused and attacks the healthy joints leading to inflammation, pain, stiffness and sometimes swelling and redness. Genetics and environmental aspects may trigger the autoimmunity, according to researchers.
Infectious Arthritis: In this case, a virus, fungus or bacterium enters the joint, triggering inflammation. A suitable treatment, along with antibiotics, may treat the infection before it turns chronic.
Metabolic Arthritis: High levels of uric acid lead to this kind of arthritis. The uric acid levels increases and forms needle-like crystal in the joints which leads to extreme joint pain or a gout attack.
Your doctor may perform a physical examination and do blood tests and image scans to diagnose arthritis. Moreover, to know the severity of the condition your doctor may ask you to undergo an X-ray, CT scan or ultrasound test. Although, there is no single cure for arthritis, in many cases the condition and damage can be effectively controlled through early diagnosis and treatment. Researchers strongly believe in early arthritis treatment through aggressive regimes of drugs and physical therapies. In the case of inflammatory arthritis, early drug therapies help in reducing the risk of long-term damage to joints and bones. Certain hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy also help ease the pain. If the joints are severely damaged then one may have to undergo surgery such as joint replacements. All scientific and medical societies worldwide insist on an early and aggressive treatment of arthritis to stop the progression of damage to joints and halt symptoms.