Although the word “arthritis” literally means “joint inflammation,” it is often used to refer to more than 100 other disorders that affect joints, surrounding tissues, and other connective tissues. Depending on the type, many factors might induce arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the type of arthritis that is most prevalent. Gout and rheumatoid arthritis are two additional prevalent forms of arthritis caused by rheumatic diseases (RA).
In the US, 58.5 million adults, or one in four persons, suffer from arthritis. Adults 65 years of age and older are more likely to experience it. However, it can have an impact on people of all ages, especially young ones.
What is Arthritis?
Rheumatic diseases and ailments that affect joints, including more than 100, are referred to as arthritis. In and around one or more joints, these disorders frequently cause pain, discomfort, stiffness, and swelling.
Joint inflammation is what the word “arthritis” refers to. The tendons and ligaments around the joint, however, may also be impacted by inflammation. A person’s ability to carry out daily chores may be hampered by the symptoms, which may appear gradually or unexpectedly.
Types of arthritis
More than 100 different forms of arthritis exist. Arthritis can generally be divided into the following groups:
An expected aspect of the body’s healing process is inflammation. It frequently happens as a line of defence against bacteria and viruses or as a reaction to wounds like burns. Inflammation, however, occurs in patients with inflammatory arthritis for no obvious reason.
Damaged inflammation that does not naturally develop in response to injury or illness defines inflammatory arthritis. The damage caused by this sort of inflammation, which results in discomfort, stiffness, and swelling, is counterproductive and harmful to the affected joints.
Multiple joints may be affected by inflammatory arthritis, and the inflammation may also harm the underlying bone.
Inflammatory arthritis examples include:
- inflammatory arthritis
- spondylitis with ankylosing
- Ankylosing spondylitis
Mechanical or degenerative Arthritis
A collection of disorders known as degenerative or mechanical arthritis mostly entail harm to the cartilage that surrounds the ends of the bones. The smooth, slick cartilage’s primary function is to facilitate easy gliding and motion in the joints. The cartilage gets thinner and rougher as a result of this type of arthritis.
The body starts to remodel the bone in an effort to restore stability in order to make up for the loss of cartilage and modifications in joint function. Osteophytes, which are unfavourable bony growths, may result from this. It’s possible for the joint to deform. Osteoarthritis is the term most often used to describe this ailment.
Osteoarthritis may also develop as a result of prior joint injury, such as a fracture or joint inflammation.
Connective Tissues Disease (CTD)
Other body tissues and organs are supported, bound together, or divided by connective tissues. They consist of cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
Joint discomfort and inflammation are symptoms of CTD. The skin, muscles, lungs, and kidneys are just a few of the tissues that may experience inflammation. Along with sore joints, this might cause other symptoms, thus it may be necessary to speak with several different doctors.
CTD examples include:
- Lupus, or SLE,
- systemic sclerosis, or scleroderma
Inflammation in joints can occasionally be brought on by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
Joint-infecting microbes include:
- Shigella and salmonella, which are transmitted through tainted or contaminated food
- sexually transmitted illnesses including gonorrhoea and chlamydia (STDs)
- Hepatitis C, a blood-to-blood infection that can be contracted via receiving blood transfusions or using shared needles,
Antibiotics or other antimicrobial drugs can be used by a doctor to treat a joint infection. However, if the infection has continued for a while, the arthritis may become chronic and the damage to the joints may be irreversible.
As the body breaks down purine-containing compounds, uric acid is produced. Human cells and many foods contain purines.
The majority of uric acid dissolves in the blood and is carried to the kidneys. It then exits the body through the urine. Some persons have high uric acid levels as a result of either naturally producing more uric acid than they require or having a slower-than-normal uric acid clearance rate.
Some people’s uric acid builds up and collects, forming needle-like crystals in the joint, which can cause rapid surges in their level of acute joint pain or a gout attack. If uric acid levels are not lowered, gout can develop into a chronic condition or appear in episodes.
Typically, it only affects a single joint or a small group of joints, like the hands and big toe. Typically, the extremities are affected. According to one idea, uric acid crystals develop in colder joints that are removed from the body’s core heat.
Symptoms of arthritis
Depending on the type, arthritis symptoms can manifest in a variety of ways. They may appear quickly or gradually. Since arthritis is typically a chronic condition, symptoms may fluctuate or linger over time.
But anyone who exhibits any of the four crucial warning symptoms listed below needs to contact a doctor.
- Pain: Arthritis pain can be persistent or intermittent. It might only impact one area or cause discomfort over the entire body.
- Swelling: Some varieties of arthritis cause red, swollen, and warm-to-the-touch skin above the damaged joint.
- Stiffness: This symptom is common. With some kinds, this is probably the case when you first wake up in the morning, after spending a lot of time sitting at a desk or in a car, or after. Other types may experience stiffness during or following activity.
- Joint difficulty: Arthritis or another joint condition may be present if moving a joint or rising from a chair is difficult or painful.
A number of different forms of arthritis can result in symptoms that are distinct from these common symptoms. Juvenile RA, for instance, might result in ocular issues including uveitis, iridocyclitis, or iritis.
Fever and excruciating joint pain are frequent symptoms of septic arthritis. If it worsens to the point of sepsis, it can become an emergency.
Causes of arthritis
All forms of arthritis are caused by a variety of factors. Depending on the type or form of arthritis, there may be one or many causes.
Possible reasons could be:
- an incident that may result in degenerative arthritis
- an improper metabolism that can lead to diseases like calcium pyrophosphate deposits and gout (CPPD)
- a hereditary predisposition that may result in osteoarthritis
- an infection like Lyme disease, which can cause symptoms of arthritis
- immune system malfunction, such as that which results in lupus and RA,
The majority of arthritis types have several contributing causes. Some, though, seem to sprout out of nowhere and without a clear cause.
More than 100 different forms of arthritis exist.
Some forms, like RA and lupus, have several organs affected and are brought on by an overactive immune system. Different joints’ physical deterioration is the cause of other types.
Indicators of arthritis development include:
- erratic metabolism
- Biological makeup
- immune system impairment
A physician can assist a patient in determining whether they have arthritis and the most appropriate course of treatment. Medication and lifestyle modifications are two possible treatments. Occasionally, a person may require surgery.
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