Top 4 Types of Arthritis - AlphaMaleNation
Different Types of Arthritis and Their Symptoms
Arthritis: It’s common to start feeling soreness and stiffness in our bodies as we grow older, but incessant acute pain which can interfere with day-to-day activities is not a natural part of aging and can be prevented or at the very least efficiently managed. A vast majority of elderly people accept joint pain as an unavoidable symptom of old age and never discuss the issue with their doctors.
However, lifelong joint health is an essential factor for productivity, quality of life and overall well-being and there are steps you can take to protect your joints from ongoing discomfort. An early diagnosis can not only improve classic issues like swelling, pain and stiffness but also prevent permanent damage of uncontrolled inflammation from occurring.
While not every joint ache is reason for distress or requires treatment, there are underlying signs that something more serious might be going on – in which case a visit to your primary care physician is highly recommended.
What exactly is arthritis?
Arthritis stands for inflammation of one or multiple joints and manifests with pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased the range of motion (which typically worsen with age). Although people of all sexes, ages and races are affected by this disorder, there are over 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions.
In fact, the term does not represent a single disease but is rather an informal reference to joint pain and joint disease. Affecting over 50 million adults and 300,000 children, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America and is prevalent amongst women and seniors of both sexes.
The different types of arthritis
- Degenerative arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and occurs when the cartilage
covering the end of the bone deteriorates. Without the soft, cushioning surface, bones rub up against each other causing pain and eventually swelling. Over time, the joints gradually lose strength, causing the pain to become chronic. In some cases, the damage can be so extensive that the joint has to be replaced.
This is why it is important to schedule a visit with your physician if the discomfort leads to limited mobility or affects the quality of life. Whether your symptoms are mild or moderate, catching the disease in its early onset is key to managing this condition.
Engaging in regular physical activity, using hot and cold therapies, as well as maintaining a healthy weight and using assistive devices can aid you in controlling and reducing the severity of the pain.
- Inflammatory arthritis
Generally, a healthy immune system generates internal inflammation in order to prevent diseases and fight off nasty infections. However, awry immune responses are occasionally triggered, accidentally attacking the joints with uncontrolled inflammation.
This lapse leads to joint erosion and can have several potentially harmful side-effects. In more severe cases, eyes, internal organs and other parts of the body can undergo permanent damage. Psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most widely encountered types of inflammatory arthritis. The latter causes the inflammation of the synovial membrane (the lining of the joint capsule), which in turn leads to the release of enzymes which erode through bone and cartilage from within the joint.
While scientists are still unsure about the biological root of the disease, recent research shows that a combination of environmental factors and poor genetics are responsible for triggering autoimmunity within the body. Once again, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment are absolutely essential in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
If caught early on, it is possible to slow down the disease’s progression, as well as reduce or completely prevent permanent joint damage. Moreover, remission is feasible through the use of a medication regimen known as disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which can improve function and fend off further joint damage.
- Metabolic arthritis
This type of arthritis is caused by an elevation of uric acid levels in the body, which leads to gout episodes, chronic pain and eventually disability. Uric acid is generally formed in order to break down a type of substance found in the human cells and high-protein foods, known as purine.
In some people, large quantities of unnecessary uric acid are naturally produced and cannot be excreted in time. The acid progressively builds up and generates needle-like crystals inside the joint, which then induce rapid spikes of severe joint pain and gout attacks.
Making time for physical activity and learning more about the disease and possible treatment options is highly recommended as soon as the first signs of arthritis occur.
- Infectious arthritis
Any virus, fungus or bacteria which enters the joint can trigger an inflammatory. The response, which in turn can prompt the appearance of arthritis. Although the infection disappears after the well-timed treatment with antibiotics, in many cases the inflammation is persistent and spreads even further, leading to chronic arthritis.
Being cautious and following general health guidelines is enough to prevent infectious arthritis. Organisms which can affect the joints can be contracted through sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea and chlamydia), shared needles or transfusions (which can cause hepatitis C) and food poisoning or contamination (shigella and salmonella).