If you or someone you know has arthritis, then you know how hard it can be on your life. Arthritis comes in many different forms and there are currently more than 100 types of arthritis that have been discovered. Arthritis is actually a group of many different conditions that all engage in damaging the joints of the body.
The most common form of arthritis is Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that comes as a result of excessive trauma to the joints, infection of the joints, or simply by old age. Osteoarthritis, as well as affecting the joints, decreases the amount of cartilage in your bones. When Osteoarthritis attacks the cartilage, your bones try to repair themselves, filling that empty space, and in the process, a bone cyst forms.
Osteoarthritis has many symptoms that can easily send a warning flag your way. If you experience any type of stiffness or difficulty moving the joint and it causes pain, then you should consult your doctor because this may be an early sign of osteoarthritis. The most common joints that are affected with Osteoarthritis are: the fingers, hip, spine, and knees. If you feel like your fingertips are swollen but aren’t really feeling any pain, don’t just brush it off - see a doctor immediately.
Osteoarthritis isn’t the only form of arthritis. There is also rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis causes severe inflammation of your joints. It can also strike various other organs in your body, making your immune system unknowingly attack your own body’s tissue. The official term for this type of disease is “autoimmune,” where you have antibodies in your blood that target your own body. Generally, when your own immune system attacks itself, inflammation occurs.
Luckily, while rheumatoid arthritis is still considered a chronic illness, many people claim to experience extensive periods of time without any symptoms. The main symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is inflammation of any joint or organ. Other symptoms include lack of appetite, fatigue, low energy, fever, or stiffness of your joints. Many patients describe the stiffness as being most dominant in the morning hours. Joints may also become tender or red during flare ups of symptoms.
Psoriatic arthritis (commonly known as psoriatic arthritis autoimmune disease or PSAAD) is known as one of the scariest forms of arthritis, along with rheumatoid arthritis, mainly because the body ends up attacking itself to try to fight off the disease. Psoriatic arthritis attacks your skin and joints. Its name stems from the skin condition called psoriasis, which affects 4% of people in the United States. Main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include itchy, raised, and reddish patches of skin. The patches may even become flaky or scaly. Psoriasis more often affects the tips of your elbows, knees, scalp, or near your genitals. Most patients who claim to have inflamed joints paired with psoriasis are often diagnosed as having psoriatic arthritis.
Yes, there’s a lot to learn about living with arthritis. Getting in control might take some time. It’s going to mean making some changes in your life, but you can start with small changes, and you don’t have to make them all at once. Try to stay positive and work with your doctor to find the right combination of treatments. And you don’t have to do it alone.
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