Arthritis Is Not a Single Disease
Arthritis literally means "joint inflammation". Many people think arthritis is a single disease, but it's not. Arthritis refers to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases and other conditions that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints.
Actually, any part of your body can become inflamed or painful from arthritis. Some rheumatic conditions can result in debilitating, even life-threatening complications or may affect the muscles, bones, and internal organs.
- Arthritis Screening Quiz
- Early Arthritis Symptoms
- Fast Facts About Arthritis
- 10 Things You Should Know About Arthritis
The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis can affect anyone at any age, including children. The incidence of arthritis increases with age, but nearly 3 out of 5 people with arthritis are under age 65.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, many types of arthritis can cause irreversible damage to the joints, bones, organs, and skin.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, results from wear and tear. There is cartilage damage which canlead to decreased joint function. The first signs of osteoarthritis are:
- joint pain
- joint tenderness
- joint swelling
- decreased joint function
Initially, osteoarthritis is non-inflammatory and its onset is subtle and gradual, usually involving one or only a few joints. The joints most often affected are the:
Risks of osteoarthritis increase with age. Other risk factors include joint injury, obesity, and repetitive use of the joint.
- Osteoarthritis Screening Quiz
- How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
- Fast Facts About Osteoarthritis
- Test Your Knowledge: Osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which occurs when the body's own immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium (cell lining inside the joint). Rheumatoid arthritis is chronic and potentially disabling. The first signs of the disease are:
- joint pain
- joint stiffness
- joint swelling
- loss of joint function
While the cause remains elusive, doctors suspect that genetic factors play some role. Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose because it can begin gradually with subtle symptoms.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Screening Quiz
- How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Fast Facts About Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Test Your Knowledge: Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Explained With Pictures
Juvenile arthritis is a general term for all types of arthritis that occur in children, 16 years old or younger. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is the most prevalent type of arthritis in children. There are three major types of JRA:
- polyarticular (affecting many joints)
- pauciarticular (pertaining to only a few joints)
- systemic (affecting the entire body)
Signs and symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis vary from child to child. No single test can conclusively establish a diagnosis. Juvenile arthritis must be present consistently for six or more consecutive weeks before a correct diagnosis can be made.
Psoriatic arthritis is similar to rheumatoid arthritis. About 5% of people with psoriasis, a chronic skin disease, also develop psoriatic arthritis. In psoriatic arthritis, there is inflammation of the joints and sometimes the spine.
- Psoriatic Arthritis Screening Quiz
- How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
- Fast Facts About Psoriatic Arthritis
- Test Your Knowledge: Psoriatic Arthritis
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a painful condition characterized by:
The name fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. Fibromyalgia is a type of soft tissue or muscular rheumatism and does not cause joint deformities.
- Fibromyalgia Screening Quiz
- How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
- Fast Facts About Fibromyalgia
- Test Your Knowledge: Fibromyalgia
Gout is a painful type of arthritis that causes sudden, severe attacks of pain, tenderness, redness, warmth, and swelling in the joints, especially the big toe. The pain and swelling associated with gout are caused by uric acid crystals that precipitate out of the blood and are deposited in the joint.
Pseudogout / CPPD
Pseudogout, which is also known as Calcium Pyrophosphate Dihydrate Deposition Disease (CPPD), is caused by deposits of calcium phosphate crystals (not uric acid) in the joints. CPPD is often mistaken as gouty arthritis. Since CPPD is a different disease than gout, treatment is not the same as gout.
Scleroderma is a disease of the body's connective tissue that causes thickening and hardening of the skin. It can also affect the:
- blood vessels
- internal organs
There are two types of scleroderma: localized and generalized.
- Scleroderma Screening Quiz
- Fast Facts About Scleroderma
- Test Your Knowledge: Scleroderma
- Scleroderma: Not a Single Disease
Lupus / SLE
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that can involve the:
- blood vessels
- nervous system
- other internal organs
Symptoms vary, but may include a skin rash, arthritis, fever, anemia, fatigue, hair loss, mouth ulcers, and kidney problems. Symptoms usually first appear in women of childbearing age, but, can occur in children or older people. About 90 percent of those affected are women.