According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America. With over 100 types, finding a diagnosis might seem overwhelming, but doctors can look at your health history and other contributing factors to help you find answers. Here are some of the most common types of arthritis and how they affect the body.
Common Types of Arthritis
Joints have cartilage in them to protect the bones from rubbing together when you move. People with osteoarthritis experience loss of this cartilage, meaning the bones rub together and cause pain that can range from mild to intense.
This type of arthritis is the result of altered pain signals. The brain and spinal cord don’t react to movement in typical ways, meaning everyday actions that would be mildly uncomfortable for most can be extremely painful for those with fibromyalgia.
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs when there is a buildup of uric acid in the blood. This acid can form crystals in one joint at a time, most commonly the joint in the big toe, which can lead to intense pain and swelling.
Psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that typically presents as a rash on the skin, can also inflame the joints, leading to pain and stiffness.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that can cause the immune system to harm the healthy tissues that line the joints and make them swell. Movement of the joint irritates the swollen tissue which can result in pain and, if left untreated, permanent damage.
Common Treatments for Arthritis
“If your arthritis stems from an underlying condition, your doctor will likely recommend treating that first to clear up any joint pain and additional side effects,” says Nanette Dacumos, MD, family medicine physician at St. Joseph Health Primary Care West Villa Maria. In other cases, your doctor might prescribe analgesics to reduce pain or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), biologics, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. Physical therapy can also make movement easier by strengthening the muscles around the joints.
If you experience pain, swelling, or tenderness in your joints, schedule an appointment with a St. Joseph Health orthopedist or primary care physician for diagnosis and treatment. If you’re 55 or older, check out MatureWell Lifestyle Center to see how our team of physicians, advanced practice clinicians, and specialists can help you lead a healthy, happy lifestyle with arthritis through our services, which include fitness classes, nutrition counseling, and outpatient therapy services.
Arthritis Foundation | Sources of Arthritis Pain
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Very Well Health | An Overview of Degenerative Arthritis
Arthritis Foundation | Inflammatory Arthritis
Arthritis Foundation | What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
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