Understanding The Most Common Types Of Arthritis Health and Fitness Blog - 2HealthAndWellness.com
December 24, 2008Understanding The Most Common Types Of Arthritis
As mere mortals, almost all of us experience ailments or challenges that afflict our minds.
Each of these ailments are accompanied by various symptoms - some very low key, others with increasing pain. Initial evidences of arthritis in its various forms are unfortunately in the latter category.
When a patient has arthritis, the type of arthritis with which they are diagnosed can make a major difference in how its dealt with both at a personal and medical level.
Experience with arthritis shows up in the form of painful joints, but there are many symptoms that can distinguish one condition from others.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Its often called degenerative joint disease and tends to be more common in older adults. However, osteoarthritis can still appear in younger people, when it is normally the result of injury, a hereditary disorder or metabolic problem.
With osteoarthritis, there is a wearing away of the smooth cartilage of the bone, resulting in exposed ends forming new bone. The overgrowth of this bony material is a confirmation on the diagnosis. It is often accompanied by pain when there is a shifting of joints along with and a sensation of grating known as joint crepitus. This is where the bone ends that are both exposed and dry begin to rub against each other. Inflammation is not typically connected with Osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is very different from osteoarthritis. With this form of the disease, the immune system malfunctions, causing the synovial joints to inflame. However, though inflammation is a common response of the immune system, the body is unable to control it. This inflammation and swelling weakens the ligaments and the joints.
Disability or even deformity can be the consequence. Opening a bottle or can, grabbing a pencil to write, or shaking the hand of another person can become seemingly an insurmountable chore necessitating that both hands be utilized. This arthritis can worsen over time or possibly remain dormant for a number of years before degenerating.
The disease is often diagnosed in 5 stages. Stage 1 has no visible or apparent symptoms other than those that can be detected through lab analysis. Stage 2 is accompanied by small amount of stiffness (usually in the mornings) and some swelling.
Stage 3 causes the synovial membrane to proliferate, and drug treatments are often required. During Stage 4, this disease continues to spread to the cartilage and joint swelling becomes more pronounced. At Stage 5, irreversible destruction has been caused and the patient is typically under high duress.
A diagnostic conclusion of rheumatoid arthritis is typically founded on the existence of the following symptoms for a period longer than six weeks - stiffness of the joints after awakening, swelling in finger or joints of the wrists, soft tissue swelling around joints and swelling on each side of a joint.
The term spondyloarthropathies actually refers to a number of arthritic disorders that affect the spine. Though its the third most common form of arthritis, its actually a blanket term to cover conditions such as psoriatic arthritis, intestinal arthropathy, reactive anthropathy, Reiters syndrome and more.
If you think you have an arthritis type of any of the kind listed above, then you should talk to your doctor about testing and obtaining possible treatment. The earlier arthritis is diagnosed, the better the patients long term quality of life.
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