The var­i­ous types of arthri­tis

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - SENIOR LIFE - Ar­ti­cle cour­tesy of MetroCreative

Arthri­tis af­fects hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple across the globe. The Arthri­tis Foun­da­tion notes that more than 50 mil­lion adults in the United States have some type of arthri­tis, while the Euro­pean League Against Rheuma­tism es­ti­mates that rheumatic dis­eases such as rheuma­toid arthri­tis af­fect more than 120 mil­lion peo­ple in the Euro­pean Union. In Canada, the Cana­dian Com­mu­nity Health Survey found that 16 per­cent of Cana­di­ans age 15 and older were af­fected by arthri­tis.

The Arthri­tis Foun­da­tion notes that arthri­tis is not a sin­gle dis­ease. In fact, the word “arthri­tis” is some­thing of an um­brella term and an in­for­mal way of re­fer­ring to joint pain or joint dis­ease. While these con­di­tions may pro­duce some com­mon symp­toms, such as swelling, pain and stiff­ness, learn­ing to dis­tin­guish be­tween some com­mon types of arthri­tis can help men and women man­age their con­di­tions more ef­fec­tively.

Os­teoarthri­tis

Os­teoarthri­tis, which is some­times re­ferred to as “de­gen­er­a­tive joint dis­ease” or “OA,” is the most com­mon chronic con­di­tion of the joints. The symp­toms of OA vary de­pend­ing on the joints that are af­fected, but pain and stiff­ness, es­pe­cially first thing in the morn­ing or after rest­ing, are com­mon. OA can af­fect the hips, knees, fin­gers or feet, and those with OA may feel lim­ited range of mo­tion in their af­fected ar­eas. Some with OA may hear click­ing or crack­ing sounds when the af­fected joints bend, and pain as­so­ci­ated with OA may be more in­tense after ac­tiv­ity or to­ward the end of the day.

In­flam­ma­tory arthri­tis

In­flam­ma­tory arthri­tis oc­curs when the im­mune sys­tem, which can em­ploy in­flam­ma­tion to fight in­fec­tion and pre­vent dis­ease, mis­tak­enly at­tacks the joints with un­con­trolled in­flam­ma­tion. Such a mis­take can con­trib­ute to joint ero­sion and even or­gan dam­age. Pso­ri­atic arthri­tis, which the Arthri­tis Foun­da­tion notes af­fects roughly 30 per­cent of peo­ple with psoriasis, and rheuma­toid arthri­tis are two ex­am­ples of in­flam­ma­tory arthri­tis. Ge­net­ics and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors, such as smok­ing, may trig­ger in­stances of in­flam­ma­tory arthri­tis.

In­fec­tious arthri­tis

Bac­terium, a virus or a fun­gus that en­ters the joint may trig­ger in­flam­ma­tion and lead to in­fec­tion arthri­tis. The Arthri­tis Foun­da­tion notes that the most com­mon bac­te­ria to cause in­fec­tion arthri­tis is staphy­lo­coc­cous au­reus, or staph. The ma­jor­ity of in­fec­tious arthri­tis cases oc­cur after an in­fec­tion some­where else in the body trav­els through the blood­stream to the joint, though some in­fec­tions may en­ter the joint di­rectly through a punc­ture wound near the joint or dur­ing surgery near the joint. In­tense swelling and pain, typ­i­cally in a sin­gle joint, are the most com­mon symp­toms of in­fec­tious arthri­tis, which is most likely to af­fect the knee, though it can af­fect the hips, an­kles and wrists. Some peo­ple with in­fec­tion arthri­tis may also ex­pe­ri­ence fever and chills.

Meta­bolic arthri­tis

The body pro­duces uric acid to break down purines, a sub­stance found in many foods and in hu­man cells. But some peo­ple pro­duce more uric acid than they need, which they then strug­gle to get rid of quickly. As a re­sult, uric acid can build up. The Arthri­tis Foun­da­tion PHOTO COUR­TESY OF METROCREATIVE

notes that this buildup can lead to the for­ma­tion of nee­dle-like crys­tals in the joints that cause sud­den spikes of ex­treme pain.

Arthri­tis can af­fect peo­ple of any age, race or gen­der. More in­for­ma­tion about the var­i­ous types of arthri­tis is avail­able at arthri­tis.org.

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