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Know What Type of Arthritis You Have?

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Know What Type of Arthritis You Have?

Orthopedics & Joint Replacement | by Dr. Golam Hashib | Published on 28/02/2023



Overview:

As people grow older, constant pain due to joint problems seems to create a constant animation of dismal over their faces. Unfortunately, in many households, it has become a common sight. While several factors like seasonal pains and ageing progress the pain, one of the most common causes of pain in the older population is a result of a medical condition called Rheumatoid arthritis. 

Arthritis is a common medical condition which results in swelling and tenderness in one or more joints. Pain and discomfort in the joints are usually a result of inflammation which makes it difficult for patients to carry out their daily activities. Arthritis is one of the leading causes of joint disorders in aged people, but certain types of arthritis can also affect younger people. 

This blog contains information about different types of arthritis and the various symptoms associated with each type. If you are looking to know more about arthritis, then you can refer our top orthopaedic doctors.

However, please note that this blog is only for informational purposes and does not replace the significance of an arthritis doctor’s consultation.

What are The Different Types Of Arthritis?

While there are more than a hundred types of arthritis that occur in different parts of the body, each type varies in symptoms, causes and different treatment methods. Here we are going to discuss the most common types of arthritis which include - 

Osteoarthritis - It is one of the most common types of arthritis which affects weight-bearing joints like knees, hips, feet and spine. Osteoarthritis mostly affects the older population as a result of constant wear and tear in the joints. 

Our body has a natural shock absorber called cartilage. Cartilage is a cushion at the end of the bones which enables frictionless motion of the joint. As a result of constant wear and tear, joint injuries, or other risk factors such as increased body weight, congenital joint disorder, etc. As a result of the deterioration of bone and connective tissues, people often experience intense pain which can make it difficult to carry out their daily tasks. 

Several underlying symptoms can indicate inflammation in the joints, which develops gradually and worsens over time. Depending on the type of joint infected, osteoarthritis symptoms include the following -

  • Intense pain and discomfort
  • Stiffness (most noticeable upon being inactive)
  • Tenderness around the joint
  • Swelling
  • Loss of flexibility
  • A feeling of grating (hearing cracking or popping sounds)
  • Bone spurs
  • Reduced mobility

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means your own immune system attacks the connective tissues and joints. The exact cause of RA is still under discussion, but it is mostly linked to bacteria or viruses which cause inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age. 

There are two main types of rheumatoid arthritis - Seropositive RA and Seronegative RA. Another type of rheumatoid arthritis is Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis which only affects children. Seropositive RA is more severe than seronegative RA since the symptoms are lifelong and affect multiple joints symmetrically. Juvenile RA which is often referred to as juvenile idiopathic arthritis affects children aged under 16 years. Juvenile RA treatment aims to control inflammation and prevent the condition from progressing further.

Common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pain, stiffness, and swelling in the hands, elbows, shoulder, knees, feet, jaw, neck, etc. This type of arthritis usually affects multiple joints in a symmetrical pattern. For example, if the fingers on your left-hand show signs of RA, it is highly likely that the fingers on your right hand will have signs of RA as well. 

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) - This type of arthritis commonly affects fingers causing pink or red coloured patches. Psoriatic arthritis refers to the joint inflammation that develops in people diagnosed with psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition which causes itchiness and discomfort. People with psoriatic arthritis have patchy, red and white areas of inflamed skin with scales. 

The condition usually affects the tip of the elbows and knees, scalp, and skin around the genital areas or anus. If left untreated, the condition can progress to the spine. Common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include swollen fingers and toes, foot pain, lower back pain, and inflammation in the eyes. Psoriatic arthritis is classified into five different types - distal interphalangeal predominant, asymmetric oligoarticular, symmetric polyarthritis, and spondylitis. 

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) - Ankylosing spondylitis or arthritis of the spine is another type of arthritis which causes the bones in the spine, and vertebrae to fuse. This fusion makes the spine less flexible and can cause a hunched posture. If the doctor is able to detect ankylosing spondylitis in the x-ray, it is known as axial spondyloarthritis. When the condition cannot be observed on x-ray but the condition can be detected based on symptoms and blood tests, it is called non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis. 

Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms commonly affect joints between the base of the spine and the pelvis, vertebrae in the lower back, hip and shoulder joints, and areas where tendons and ligaments are attached to the bones. 

Lupus Erythematosus - Also known as lupus, it is another type of arthritis that can make your immune system go awry. This results in inflammation and pain throughout the body, from your joints to the organs and eventually your brain. Symptoms of lupus include pain and swelling in the joints, fatigue, headaches, swelling in the feet, legs, hands, or around the eyes, hair loss, blood disorders, like anaemia and low levels of white blood cells or platelets, chest pain due to inflammation of the lining of the heart or lungs, etc.

Gout - It is a type of arthritis caused due to accumulation of urate crystals inside your joints. High levels of uric acid in the blood can increase the risk of gout. Gout can be painful causing redness and swelling in the toes, feet, knees, ankles, hands, and wrists. 

Treatment Options For Arthritis

Depending on the type and severity of arthritis, there are different methods to manage the symptoms of arthritis. Since most types of arthritis cannot be completely cured, the doctor provides a proper treatment plan after a comprehensive diagnosis to improve the overall health of the individual and help them carry out their daily activities. Arthritis treatment options include the following - 

  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Therapeutic Injections

FAQs:

 

What is the main cause of arthritis?

The primary cause of arthritis varies depending on the type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs as a result of wear and tear in the joints over a period of time. Other types of arthritis, occur mostly due to autoimmune disorders. 

Can arthritis be cured?

Most arthritis in the end stages cannot be cured, but, there are certain treatment methods which can manage the symptoms of arthritis and prevent the condition from getting worse.

Is ankylosing spondylitis a type of arthritis?

Yes, ankylosing spondylitis is the arthritis of the spine which causes the bones in the spine, and vertebrae to fuse.