Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia are three of the most common forms of arthritis. This article discusses these three types of arthritis, their symptoms and treatment measures.
Arthritis is a word that means inflammation of the joints. Arthritis is also a collective term that describes more than 100 different diseases and related conditions. The most common symptoms of arthritis are pain and inflammation.
In this article we will discuss the most common forms of arthritis, their symptoms and treatment options:
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis effects more than 27 million Americans. OA usually deveops gradually after age 40.
Osteoarthritis is a result of the breakdown of cartilage in the joints, leading to pain and stiffness. Cartilage is the smooth, rubbery substance that covers the ends of bones. Cartilage acts as a cushion between bones that come together to form a joint.
Cartilage allows the bones to move properly and prevent bone-to-bone contact. When cartilage breaks down, the ends of the bones may rub together, causing pain, stiffness and deceased mobility.
OA occurs more frequently in the joints of the neck, knees, hands, fingers, hips and spine. Osteoarthritis symptoms can worsen with overuse of these joints or after periods of underuse. If you have OA, it is important to strike a balance between overuse and underuse, and regular exercise to keep your muscles strong enough to support your damaged joints.
The cause of osteoarthritis is not completely clear, but are thought to be hereditary, obesity, injury or overuse. Because some of the causes of OA are preventable, OA is one form of arthritis that may be preventable.
Rheumatoid arthritis RA:
Rheumatoid arthritis is another common form of arthritis, effecting approximately 1.3 million Americans. RA causes inflammation of the lining of the joints, called the synovium, and other organs of the body. The result of the inflammation is swelling, pain, stiffness and limited mobility. RA affects women three times more often than men. RA can begin at any age, but usually the onset of symptoms begin in the 20s and 30s.
Rheumatoid arthritis can be debilitating, with severe pain and inflammation and visible joint deformaty. Many sufferers of RA experience flairs (temporary periods of elevated symptoms) that make almost any activity, even walking across a room, painful or impossible. Other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are fatigue and an overall ill feeling similar to the flu.
Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the same joints on both sides of the body. The most common joints affected by Rheumatoid arthritis are the hands, elbows, shoulders, neck, hips, knees, ankles and feet.
The cause of RA is unknown. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, a disease in which the body's immune system doesn't work properly. The body's normal defences against disease turn against the body instead, attacking joints and other organs and causing irreversible damage.
RA may be treated with a variety of drug therapies, including corticosteroids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and the powerful biologic response modifyers. Along with drug therapy, people with RA also need to learn to manage their disease through a healthy diet, regular exercise and with working with physical therapists and other health care professionals that specialize in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Fibromyalgia is a common, although misunderstood, syndrome that involves muscle pain and tenderness, fatigue and sleeplessness. Fibromyalgia affects more than 5 million Americans, most being women. Children and teenagers can also become affected with fibromyalgia.
Fibromaylgia does not cause inflammation or joints damage and is not really a form of arthritis, but a related syndrome, a form of soft-tissue rheumatism. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. People with fibromyalia have a history of widespread pain that lasts at least three months, and pain in at least 11 of 18 tender spots, which are specific places in the body associated with tenderness and pain.