Arthritis is a name by which people call almost any cases of joint pain and inflammation. But it is not so. All the joints pains and inflammations are not the same type of arthritis. Medically there are almost a hundred different conditions that have been declared types of arthritis.
Such wrong information that all arthritis is same have often led people to wrong treatment and further degeneration of the condition. But if the correct form of arthritis is diagnosed and the correct treatment is done in time, relief can be provided in most of the cases. Thus, it is important to know the various types of arthritis.
The Commonest Forms of Arthritis
Commonly people experience two types of arthritis – rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Apart from these two commonest types the other types that are also commonly seen are ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, septic arthritis and of course, gout. Other lesser types are gonococcal arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Scleroderma, Tennis elbow, Discitis, Hypertrophic osteoarthropathy, etc.
Now let us look into some of the types of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis. This is an autoimmune disease where the parts of the body get affected by the action of immune system on them.
Most of the times the joints are the main areas that get affected and when the condition persists over long period of say, years, then the joints get severely damaged and the person may even develop deformity. Sometimes nodules grow over the affected joints like the elbows and heels. These nodules are called rheumatoid nodules.
This form of arthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints. Normally this condition arises from over use of the joints of the body, especially the load bearing joints. So most often the affected areas are the knee, spine and hip joints. Obesity, injury or the aging process can be the common causes of such degeneration. This condition can affect both the males and females equally. The symptoms may take some time to manifest and the real problem starts when the cartilage between the joints slowly erodes away. Normally the only complaint of the patients suffering from osteoarthritis is pain. Otherwise, the disease does not cause any other problem.
Gout is a very well known problem of the joints and people have known the name from quite some time past. It is another form of arthritis where the patient suffers sudden bouts of burning pain, swelling of the joints and stiffness. If left untreated these attacks may recur several times in the life of a patient until it takes a worse turn when the joints and tendons may get harmed.
Gout results from excessive deposition of Uric acid crystals in the blood. Normally the level itself is not harmful, but if the uric acid starts forming crystals in the joints then the pain starts. The people falling in the risk group are those who are obese and those who take in food that are high in purines. Normally each attack can last for a few days to a few weeks.
This is form of inflammatory disease where the sacroiliac joints, that is, the joint where the spine and pelvis meet, get affected. Normally the condition is chronic in nature and can affect at any place along the entire spine. As a result of this condition the affected person experiences stiffness of the spine and often this result in difficulty in movement after remaining in the same posture for a long time. In the long run the person may develop a forward stooping posture.
This is a form of arthritis that can develop in people suffering from psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition when the skin reddens and the area develops silvery scales.
Normally the arthritis condition develops after psoriasis manifests. However, it may show up even before the lesions of the skin appear. The main symptoms of the condition are swelling, stiffness and pain in the joints. It can affect any joint right from the spine to the fingers.
This condition is a very painful one and is actually an infection of the joints. It occurs when a bacteria and in some rare cases, fungi, move from any part of the body to any of the joints. Sometimes it has been seen that such infections are occurring only in the joints.
This form of arthritis is caused by germs of some type and often results in damage to the joints. Most often the knees get affected but it does not mean that other joints will not get affected. An immediate treatment within a week may completely cure the disease.
You need not be a tennis player to get this condition. In fact, this is a very common disease and is usually related to the hand. It results from overuse of the various parts of hand including the joints and muscles.
Sometimes subtle injuries of the muscles and tendons around the elbow can bring about this condition. Pain due to tennis elbow begins mildly and gradually increases and occurs in the area of the outside of the elbow. The person finds squeezing objects and shaking hand difficult and in the worst case any movement of the wrist may cause severe pain.
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This condition is also classified as one type of arthritis and is identifiable from the musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue and mood related conditions. This condition is related to some physical trauma or infection and sometimes results from severe psychological stress. However, in most of the cases, the symptoms accumulate and do not show until triggered by something. There is no established treatment for Fibromyalgia but it can be kept under control with medication.
Scleroderma is another of the conditions that comes under the broad classification of types of arthritis. This is a progressive disease that can be either localized in nature or may affect the organs.
In this condition the skin and other connective tissues slowly tighten and harden over time as a result of abnormally high deposit of collagen, the fibrous protein which is responsible for development of the connective tissues. This does not end the list and the types continue. However, they may not be very common or in some cases may happen to one person in a million.