Arthritis is the disease that is suffered by1amongst 4 US citizens. The word arthritis has generated from the Greek word arthron meaning “joint” and the Latin ‘’itis’’ known ‘’inflamation’’. Arthritis affects the musculoskeletal system, mainly the joints and is the main cause of disability among people aged over fifty-five years of age.
What is arthritis? Arthritis is not a single disease and consists of over100 medical conditions. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and normally affects aged people while some kinds of arthritis can affect people at an early age.
What causes arthritis?
Determining the cause of arthritis can be difficult, because many times numerous factors contribute to an individual to develop this common problem. The causes for arthritis may include Genetics, Age, Weight, Previous Injury, Occupational Hazards, Some High-Level Sports and Illness or Infection.
Types of arthritis
There are over more than 100 types of arthritis. These are few of the most common types that affect many people.
- Osteoarthritis – In this type of arthritis, cartilage, which covers the bone surface to stop the two bones from rubbing directly against each other, loses its elasticity. When the cartilage is firm it becomes damaged more without any difficulty. The cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber, will steadily wear away in some areas. As the cartilage becomes damaged tendons and ligaments become extended, causing pain. Ultimately the bones may rub against each other causing heavy pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – It is an inflammatory form of arthritis. The synovial membrane (synovium) is attacked, leading to swelling and pain. If left uncured the arthritis can cause deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis is much more common in women than men and generally attacks when the patient is aged between 40 and 60. At times, children and much older people may also be affected.
- Infectious arthritis (septic arthritic) –It is an infection in the synovial fluid and tissues of a joint, caused by bacteria and can also be caused by fungi or viruses. Bacteria, fungi or viruses may pass through the bloodstream from infected tissue nearby, and contaminate a joint. It commonly affects the people, who have already suffered from some form of arthritis and have developed an infection that travels in the bloodstream.
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) – It is a kind of arthritis that affects a person aged 16 or below. JRA can take many forms of arthritis. There are three main types:
- Pauciarticular JRA, the most common and mildest. The child experiences pain in nearly 4 joints.
- Polyarticular JRA affects more joints and is more rigorous. As time goes by it tends to get more and more severe.
- Systemic JRA is the least common and most serious one. Pain is experienced in many joints. It can extend to organs.
What are the signs and symptoms of arthritis?
The signs and symptoms of the disease commonly depend on the type of arthritis, for example:
- Osteoarthritis – The symptoms develop gradually and get sever as time lapses. Pain present in a joint, either during or after use, or after a period of stillness. There will be tenderness in the joint when pressure is applied. The joint will be rigid. The patient may face difficulty in using the joint and loses flexibility. Some patients may undergo a strident sensation while using the joint. Hard lumps, or bone spurs may form around the joint. In a few cases the joint may bulge. The commonly affected joints are in the hips, hands, knees and spine.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – The patient frequently finds the same joints in each side of the body with swells, pain, inflammation, and stiff. The fingers, arms, legs and wrists are generally affected. Symptoms are more severe in the morning and the stiffness can last for 30 minutes. The joint senses mild when touched. Hands may be red and bulgy. There may be rheumatoid nodules (bumps of tissue under the skin of the patient’s arms). Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis feel tiresome for more time and have weight loss.
The smaller joints are affected first. According to experts, the patients with rheumatoid arthritis have problems with several joints simultaneously. As the arthritis develops it spreads from the smaller joints in the hands, wrists, ankles and feet to the elbows, knees, hips, neck, shoulders and jaw.
- Infectious arthritis – The patients suffer from fever, joint inflammation and swelling. A feel of tenderness and/or a sharp pain is common. Mostly these symptoms are associated to an injury or another illness. Usually affected areas are the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist and finger. In most cases, any one joint is affected.
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis – Here the patient is a child and will suffer intermittent fevers which tend to be severe in the evening and then disappear all of a sudden. Appetite loss and weight loss is common. There may be spotted rashes on the arms and legs. Anemia is also common. The child may wobble or have a sore wrist, finger, or knee. Any joint may unexpectedly swell and stay larger than it usually should be. The child may even suffer a rigid neck, hips or some other joint.
How will arthritis affect?
Arthritis affects people in lot many ways. How long the patient is affected and the level of severity depends on the type of arthritis. Most patients with arthritis will suffer discomfort, pain, stiffness and/or fatigue.