Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joint. There are several factors that cause this inflammation leading to several types of arthritis, the most common being Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gout. Each of these affect the patient differently and may have significantly different complications.
Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the USA. More than 20 million individuals with arthritis have severe limitations in function on a daily basis. Absenteeism and frequent visits to the physician are common in individuals who have arthritis. Arthritis makes it very difficult for individuals to be physically active and many become home bound.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disorder in which one’s immune system begins to attack the body’s own tissues. This can adversely affect the joints along with many other areas of the body, however, most damage occurs to the joint lining and cartilage which eventually results in erosion of two opposing bones.
Rheumatoid arthritis often affects the fingers, wrists, knees and elbows. The disease attacks both sides of the body and can lead to severe deformity if not treated. The majority of Rheumatoid arthritis patients are people aged 20 and above. But this disorder can also affect children, and will present with a skin rash, fever, pain, disability, and limitations in daily activities.
With early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, those affected by Rheumatoid arthritis can drastically improve their condition.
Osteoarthritis begins in the cartilage and eventually causes the two opposing bones to erode into each other. An initial symptom is pain during activities, but soon the can develop into a continuous pain which will occur event when not moving. The pain can become debilitating and prevent one from doing everyday activities.
Osteoarthritis typically affects the weight-bearing joints, such as the back, spine, and pelvis. It is is most commonly a disease of the elderly and more than 30 percent of women have some degree of osteoarthritis by age 65.
Although Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, measures can be taken to prevent the condition from worsening. Physical therapy to strengthen muscles and joints is very helpful, weight loss can reduce stress on the joints and surgery may help with in serious circumstances.