Arthritis types, causes and treatment

Arthritis types, causes and treatment
Dr Avron Urison helps us understand more about this disease
We show you how to deal with the painful symptoms of arthritis and what treatment eases swollen joints.
Dr Avron Urison
Dr Avron Urison - CEO: HealthCare Plan
27 September 2021 | 3 minute read
Article Themes website October 2021

Types of arthritis:

The three most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

These types of arthritis damage joints in different ways. The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to a joint's cartilage — the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones where they form a joint. Cartilage cushions the ends of the bones and allows nearly frictionless joint motion, but enough damage can result in bone grinding directly on bone, which causes pain and restricted movement. This wear and tear can occur over many years, or it can be hastened by a joint injury or infection.

Osteoarthritis also causes changes in the bones and deterioration of the connective tissues that attach muscle to bone and hold the joint together. If cartilage in a joint is severely damaged, the joint lining may become inflamed and swollen.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system attacks parts of the body—especially the joints. This lining (synovial membrane) becomes inflamed and swollen. The disease process can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.

Severe arthritis, particularly if it affects your hands or arms, can make it difficult for you to do daily tasks. Arthritis of weight-bearing joints can keep you from walking comfortably or sitting up straight. In some cases, joints may gradually lose their alignment and shape.

Risk factors for arthritis include:

  • Family history: some types of arthritis run in families, so you may be more likely to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have the disorder.
  • Age: the risk of many types of arthritis — including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout — increases with age.
  • Your sex: women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while most of the people who have gout, another type of arthritis, are men.
  • Previous joint injury: individuals who have injured a joint, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis in that joint.
  • Obesity: carrying excess pounds puts stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine. People with obesity have a higher risk of developing arthritis.

Depending on the type of arthritis, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Decreased range of motion

With regard to the diagnosis of arthritis, X-rays may show joint changes and bone damage found in some types of arthritis. Other imaging tests may also be done. Ultrasound uses sound waves (not radiation) to see the quality of synovial tissue, tendons, ligaments, and bones. No blood test can definitively prove or rule out a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, but several tests can show indications of the condition. Some of the main blood tests used include erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) – which can help assess levels of inflammation in the body.

The commonly used arthritis medications include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain and reduce inflammation
  • Steroids
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

    Here are 8 foods and beverages to avoid if you have arthritis:

    • Added sugars. You should limit your sugar intake no matter what, but especially if you have arthritis
    • Processed and red meats
    • Gluten-containing foods
    • Highly processed foods
    • Alcohol
    • Certain vegetable oils
    • Foods high in salt

    You should also consider making these changes, they will help reduce your arthritis pain:

    • Exercise. Get plenty of regular exercise to keep pounds off and reduce arthritis pain and stiffness
    • Eat a healthy diet
    • Get vitamin C
    • Keep track of your weight
    • Avoid alcohol
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