Common Types of Arthritis

One of the most unbearable human conditions is Arthritis.  Arthritis causes pain, stiffness and sometimes swelling in or around the joints, making it hard for movements for daily activities to work or take care of the family.  A lot of options are available and steps to avoid arthritis or to reduce its pain keeping the freedom to move about.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis most cause of which is unknown.  Scientists have been studying causes of arthritis and considering three major factors that contribute in one way or another to certain types of arthritis.  These factors include genetic factors, life style, and environmental factors.  The significance of these factors varies for different types of arthritis.

Some of the most common types of arthritis are:

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis is the most common from all the types of arthritis.  It is also called degenerative arthritis.  This occurs when the cushioning cartilage, the elastic material that covers and protects the ends of the joints, breaks down. Fragments of cartilage may break off causing pain and swelling in the joint between bones.  The swelling is called inflammation. The commonly affected areas are the feet, knees, hips and fingers.  The disease is accountable for more trouble walking and stair climbing, thank any other disease and it is also the most common sign for total joint replacement of the hip and knee.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Is one of the types of arthritis where the immune system attacks the lining, or synovial membrane of the joints. The joint damage can become severe and deformity may result. This disease also involves the whole body, and may also cause fatigue, weight loss and anemia, and even affect the lungs, heart and eyes.

Gout

Is one of the types of arthritis that results from too much uric acid in the body. With this disease the body either makes too much uric acid or does not excrete enough.  Uric acid is a waste product of the body that is normally flushed out of the body by kidneys through urine. This is a metabolic disorder in which uric acids builds up in the blood and crystals form in joints and other places causing sudden, severe attacks, usually in the  big toes, but any joint can be affected.  Drugs and attention to diet can control gout.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Is one of the types of arthritis that involves the spine.  A chronic inflammatory disease of the spine that can result in fused vertebrae and rigid spine.  It causes pain and back stiffness and also bent posture, caused by the ongoing swelling and irritation of the spinal joints. In severe cases, inflammation of the vertebrae causes them to fuse together leading to severely limited mobility.  This disease is often milder and harder to diagnose in women.

Juvenile Arthritis

Also called chronic childhood arthritis, this type of arthritis occurs in children under the age of 16.  The disease causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in one or more of the joints called inflammation.  With juvenile arthritis, the inflammation lasts longer than six weeks and is not caused by injury or other illness.  Some children recover completely but others remain affected throughout their lives.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Is one of the types of arthritis where the bone and other joint tissues become inflamed and like rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the whole body.  It also causes a scaly skin rash on the skin of the elbows, knees and scalp.  It usually affects the wrists, knees, ankles, fingers and toes. 

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

This type of arthritis involves skin, joints, muscles, and sometimes internal organs.  Also called lupus or SLE, where the body’s immune system stops working properly and the immune system attacks healthy tissues causing these tissues to become swollen and painful, called inflammation.  The inflammation can happen in the skin, muscles or joints. The heart, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels or the nervous system can also be attacked by the immune system.  There may be periods of inflammation called flare-ups or periods where there is little or no inflammation called remissions.  Symptoms can occur in anyone at any age, but usually appear in women of childbearing age.