Arthritis

The term arthritis is derived from the Greek: “arthron” meaning “joint” and “itis” meaning inflammation.

Arthritis is a term that includes a group of disorders that affect your joints and muscles. Arthritis symptoms include joint pain, inflammation and limited movement of joints. When a joint is inflamed it may be swollen, tender, warm to the touch or red. Surrounding each joint is a protective capsule holding a lubricating fluid to aid in motion. Cartilage, a slippery smooth substance, covers most joints to assure an even, fluid motion of the joint. With joint arthritis, the cartilage may be damaged, narrowed and lost by a degenerative process or by inflammation making movement painful.

There are many type of arthritis and almost are involve inflammation

Arthritis is the term used for over 100 rheumatoid and joint related diseases, with the most common being Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Joint inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis is actually an attack on the immune system where the system turns on itself and attacks the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint pain and swelling, redness, warmth and can affect other organs of the body like skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood, nerves or kidneys.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1% of the population, in which 75% of those diagnosed are women. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but scientists attribute this disease to a combination of genetic, environmental and hormonal factors.

With rheumatoid arthritis, something seems to trigger the immune system to attack itself. This could happen after a sudden trauma or a surgery, and the severity is not the same in all people. Some theories suggest that a virus or bacteria alter the immune system. Therefore, since the root cause of rheumatoid arthritis is so different from osteoarthritis, of course the treatment and remedies are different also.

Types of Arthritis

Arthritis symptoms can vary depending on what type you have. It can affect several part of the body and can be caused by several different factors. Although many of the arthritis symptoms may be similar, there are also some differences. Here are a few examples of arthritis symptoms.

Ankylosing spondylitis is arthritis of the joints in the spine. It is also known as Marie-Strumpell disease and rheumatoid spondylitis. This disorder affects multiple organs such as eyes, heart, lungs, skin, and
gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms include: low back and hip pain and stiffness; difficulty expanding the chest; pain in neck, shoulders, knees, and ankles; low-grade fever; fatigue; weight loss. Initial arthritis symptoms are uncommon after the age of 30, although patient may not be diagnosed until after then.

Bursitis is another form. Bursitis usually affects the hip, shoulder, and elbow. But it can also affect the knee, heel, or base of big toe. Usually this affects athletes, golfers, baseball players, or people who are out of shape and have poor posture. This symptoms are pain and stiffness in the joint. Arthritis symptoms become worse when joint is used. The joint may also be swollen and warm to the touch.

Juvenile arthritis symptoms are similar to the adult symptoms. There is pain, swelling, and joint stiffness. Symptoms can come and go. Young children especially do not complain about their arthritis
symptoms. Parents may not notice until they see their child limping, avoid physical activity, or acting unusually clumsy.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form in older people. It is brought on partly by long-term everyday use. Depending on which part of the body is affected , arthritis symptoms may vary.

Most people with osteoarthritis in their fingers don’t even know about it unless an x-ray reveals deterioration in the cartilage. The symptoms are standard with pain and swelling. With osteoarthritis though, even though the arthritis never goes away, the pain fades over time.

Gout is a form of arthritis where the body has too much uric acid. The symptoms of gout are intense pain in the joint (usually the big toe). It may also become red, swollen, and warm to the touch. At times, gout can occur in the wrists, ankles, and knees. The symptoms may not come back for several years. But if crystals formed by the uric acid are left untreated, it can destroy part of the bone.

Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an overactive immune system. The symptoms usually start out as minor stiffness and pain. It may come and go, but eventually the arthritis systems get worse and more frequent. Treatment for this is most effective if caught within the first few months.

Common Signs and symptoms of All Type Arthritis

Regardless of the type of arthritis, the common symptoms for all arthritis disorders include varied levels of pain, swelling, joint stiffness and sometimes a constant ache around the joint(s). Arthritic disorders like lupus and rheumatoid can also affect other organs in the body with a variety of symptoms.

  • Inability to use the hand or walk
  • Malaise and a feeling of tiredness
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Poor sleep
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Tenderness
  • Difficulty moving the joint

It is common in advanced arthritis for significant secondary changes to occur. For example, in someone who has limited their physical activity :

  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Decreased aerobic fitness
  • These changes can also impact on life and social roles, such as community involvement