I suffer from Osteoarthris in my knees, shoulders, and lower back. Arthritis is a general term that refers to the inflammation of one or more joints. It can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion in the affected joints. Arthritis is not a single disease, but a group of more than 100 different conditions that affect people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
Some of the most common types of arthritis are:
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
- Infectious arthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent type of arthritis, affecting over 32 million people in the United States and 4 million in Canada. It occurs when the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones in a joint wears away, causing bone-on-bone friction and inflammation. OA can affect any joint, but it is more common in the knees, hips, hands, and spine. OA can be caused by aging, obesity, injury, overuse, or genetic factors.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints (synovial membrane), causing chronic inflammation and damage to the cartilage and bone. RA can affect any joint, but it is more common in the wrists, hands, feet, and ankles. RA can also affect other organs and tissues, such as the heart, lungs, eyes, and skin.
RA can cause symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness, swelling, deformity, fatigue, fever, and weight loss. RA can be triggered by genetic or environmental factors.
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis, a skin condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. PsA can cause joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced mobility in any joint, but it is more common in the fingers, toes, knees, ankles, and lower back. PsA can also cause nail changes, eye inflammation, and skin lesions. PsA can be mild or severe, and it can flare up or go into remission.
Gout is a type of metabolic arthritis that occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product that normally dissolves in the blood and passes out through the urine. However, when there is too much uric acid or the kidneys cannot excrete it properly, it can form crystals that deposit in the joints and cause sudden attacks of severe pain, swelling, redness, and warmth. Gout usually affects one joint at a time, often the big toe. Gout can be caused by diet, alcohol consumption, medications, or genetic factors.
Infectious arthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by an infection in a joint. The infection can be bacterial (such as from gonorrhea or tuberculosis), viral (such as from hepatitis or HIV), fungal (such as from candida or histoplasmosis), or parasitic (such as from Lyme disease or toxoplasmosis). Infectious arthritis can cause symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, fever, chills, and weakness. Infectious arthritis can be acute or chronic, and it can affect one or multiple joints.
Many Other Types of Arthritis
These are some of the most common types of arthritis, but there are many others that are less frequent or more specific to certain populations or regions. Some examples are ankylosing spondylitis (a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (a type of arthritis that affects children under 16), reactive arthritis (a type of arthritis that occurs after an infection elsewhere in the body), septic arthritis (a type of arthritis that occurs when bacteria enter a joint through an injury or surgery), and thumb arthritis (a type of osteoarthritis that affects the base of the thumb).
Quality of Life and Daily Functioning
Arthritis can have a significant impact on one’s quality of life and daily functioning, and it has done so with my life.
However, there are many treatments and management strategies available to help reduce symptoms and prevent complications depending on the type and severity of arthritis.
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