Arthritis literally means joint inflammation. Arthritis is not a single disease. Arthritis refers to a group of more than 100 rheumatic disease and other conditions that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints . STRONG MAGNET
Any part of your body can become inflamed or painful from arthritis. Some rheumatic conditions can result in debilitating, even life-threatening complications or may affect other parts of the body including the muscles, bones and internal organs. STRONG MAGNET
Artritis affects the movements you rely on for everyday activities. Arthritis is usually chronic. This means that it can last on and off for a lifetime. MAGNET STRONG
There are over 100 kinds of arthritis that can affect many different areas of the body. In addition to the joints, some forms of arthritis are associated with diseases of other tissues and organs in the body. People of all ages, including children and young adults, can develop arthritis. MAGNET STRONG
Inflammation is a reaction of the body that causes swelling, redness, pain, and loss of motion in an affected area. It is the major physical problem in the most serious forms of arthritis.
Normally, inflammation is the way the body responds to an injury or to the presence of disease agents, such as viruses or bacteria. During this reaction, many cells of the body’s defense system (called thr immune system ) rush to the injured area to wipe out the cause of the problem, clean up damaged cells and repair tissues that have been hurt. Once the “battle” is won, the inflammation normally goes away and the area becomes healthy again.
In many forms of arthritis, the inflammation does not go away as it should. Instead, it becomes part of the problem, damaging healthy tissues of the body. This may result in more inflammation and more damage – a continuing cycle.
The damage that occurs can change the bones and other tissues of the joints, sometimes affecting their shape and making movement hard and painful. Diseases in which the immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy parts of the body are called autoimmune diseases.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory type of arthritis. The joints are primarily affected, but there can be systemic effects (i.e. organs) as well. Morning stiffness lasting more than an hour, involvement of the small bones of the hands and feet, extreme fatigue, rheumatoid nodules, and symmetrical joint involvement (i.e. both knees not one knee) are all characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Fast Facts About Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Explained With Pictures
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Screening Quiz
- Test Your Knowledge: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteoarthritis predominantly affects the joints, unlike other types of arthritis which may have systemic effects. The most common symptom associated with osteoarthritis is pain in the affected joint after repeated use. Joint pain is often worse later in the day. The affected joints can swell, feel warm, and become stiff after prolonged inactivity. Osteoarthritis can occur with other forms of arthritis simultaneously. Bone spurs and bony enlargements are also characteristic of osteoarthritis.
- Fast Facts About Osteoarthritis
- Recognize Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
- Osteoarthritis Screening Quiz
- Test Your Knowledge: Osteoarthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis associated with psoriasis (a skin condition characterized by red, patchy, raised or scaly areas) and chronic joint symptoms. The symptoms of psoriasis and joint inflammation often develop separately. Symptoms associated with psoriatic arthritis vary in how they occur (i.e. symmetrical or asymmetrical) and what joints are affected. Any joint in the body can be affected. When psoriasis causes pitting and thickened or discolored fingernails, the joints nearest the fingertips are likely to become arthritic.
- Fast Facts About Psoriatic Arthritis
- Recognize Signs and Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
- Psoriatic Arthritis Screening Quiz
- Test Your Knowledge: Psoriatic Arthritis
Ankylosing spondylitis is commonly associated with inflammation which starts at the lower spine or sacroiliac joints. The earliest symptoms are often chronic pain and stiffness in the lower back region and hips. Typical ankylosing spondylitis pain in the back worsens following rest or inactivity. As symptoms of pain and stiffness progress up the spine to the neck, possibly including the rib cage area, bones may fuse.
- Fast Facts About Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Ankylosing Spondylitis Screening Quiz
- Ankylosing Spondylitis: Often Delayed or Difficult Diagnosis
Lupus can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, nervous system and other organs of the body. It is not uncommon for symptoms associated with lupus to resemble symptoms associated with other types of arthritis and rheumatic disease, making lupus difficult to diagnose. A butterfly-shaped rash appearing on the cheeks and over the bridge of the nose (malar rash) is just one of the distinguishing characterisitics of lupus.
- Fast Facts About Lupus
- 10 Things You Should Know About Lupus
- Lupus Screening Quiz
- Test Your Knowledge: Lupus
Gout is considered one of the most intensely painful types of arthritis. Gout is characterized by sudden onset of severe pain, tenderness, warmth, redness, and swelling from inflammation of the affected joint. Gout usually affects a single joint and most often the big toe is affected. The knee, ankle, foot, hand, wrist, and elbow may also be affected. Shoulders, hips, and spine may eventually be affected by gout, but rarely. Often the first gout attack occurs at night.
- Fast Facts About Gout
- Guide to Gout
- Gout Screening Quiz
- Test Your Knowledge: Gout
Symptom Patterns of Other Inflammatory Conditions Affecting Joints
There are other types of arthritis and joint inflammation conditions to consider as well:
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Reactive Arthritis
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Lyme Disease
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Polymyositis Tendinitis
As you learn about them, you and your doctor will decide which of your symptoms matches the diagnostic scheme of a particular type of arthritis. The process of identifying a specific type of arthritis is not always quick. Individual symptoms and symptom patterns can make diagnosing arthritis tricky. Being aware of early symptoms is a definite advantage however.