Definition Of Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that causes swelling of one or more of your joints. It causes inflammation in the joints, leading to joint stiffness. Arthritis may cause pain, swelling, and tenderness in the joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which generally worsen with age.
Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard covering at the ends of bones where they form a joint to the crackdown. The most prevalent types of Arthritis are Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, and Juvenile Arthritis. Uric acid crystals form when there’s too much uric acid in your bloodstream, which can cause gout. Infections or underlying disorders, such as Psoriasis or Psoriatic, can cause other kinds of arthritis.
There is a specific genetic factor that may play a vital role in triggering arthritis. The symptoms for each type of arthritis may vary, but some common symptoms associated will all kind of arthritis includes pain, stiffness, swelling, redness of joints, and reduced motion.
It can affect different parts, as well as every joint of our body, some types of arthritis, are systemic, and it can cause damage to an internal organ of the body.
Treatments vary depending on the form of arthritis. The key goal of remedies is to reduce symptoms and enhance the quality of life.
According to CDC.org It affects 54.4 million US adults, about 1 in 4.

How many types of Arthritis are there?

There are various types of arthritis, but some of them are as follows:

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is the result of the cartilage rupture, the cartilage deteriorates. It causes inflammation resulting in joint stiffness, pain, and weakened movement. The symptoms associated with Osteoarthritis are pain, stiffness, reduced flexibility, swelling, and tenderness.
There are two types of Osteoarthritis. Primary Osteoarthritis and Secondary Osteoarthritis:

Primary Osteoarthritis

It is a degenerative disease associated with aging. Primary Osteoarthritis affects the thumb, fingers, spine, knees, and toes.

Secondary Osteoarthritis

Secondary Arthritisarises due to any abnormality or injury. The risk factor associated with the secondary Osteoarthritis includes trauma, obesity, inactive lifestyle, genetic factor, Squatting for an extended period.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the joints, starting with the lining of joints of the body resulting in inflammation. It can affect various organs of the body, such as blood vessels, heart, lungs, and eyes. The inflammation occurs in the lining of the joint, thus giving rise to severe conditions like pain, swelling, redness, and stiffness of the joints. The joints tend to lose their ability of motion, and in severe cases, the joint ceases, thus unable to perform their function.
There are four stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis termed as Early, Moderate, Severe, and End Stage.

Early Stage – Stage 1

It is the Early Stage of the Rheumatoid Arthritis. The common symptoms associated with this stage include pain, swelling, and stiffness of some joints. This stage only causes inflammation of a few joints, and the synovial membrane present outside the cartilage inflames, but bones remain unaffected.

Moderate Stage – Stage 2

In the Moderate Stage, the inflammation in the synovial membrane starts to damage the cartilage, the cartilage starts to decrease with the increased inflammation, and a person may experience problems in the mobility.

Severe Stage – Stage 3

Stage 3 is the severe stage of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This stage not only affects the cartilage, but it also affects the bone and cartilage. The cartilage provides a cushioning effect to the bones and joints, hence wearing of these body parts. The person may experience a decrease in mobility and muscle strength in various parts of the body.

End-Stage – Stage 4

In this stage, the joint stops functioning, and mobility becomes very limited.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is also called Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. It occurs in people with 16 years of age or younger. The disease causes inflammation and joint stiffness, which lasts for about six weeks. The exact cause of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is still not known, but it occurs due to an autoimmune response in which the immune cells destroy the healthy tissues of the body.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease, causing pain in tissues of the body responsible for the movement of joints and bones. People with this condition feel fatigued and lethargic. Fibromyalgia causes pain and stiffness in the muscles of the spine, hip, neck, and shoulders. It is more common among women, and the people with Rheumatoid disease are at higher risk of fibromyalgia.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is an autoimmune disease, causing inflammation and damage to the joints, blood vessels, brain, skin, heart, and other organs of the body. The cause of SLE is still not known, but many types of research show that some genetic, environmental, or hormonal factors are associated with SLE.

Spondyloarthropathies

Spondyloarthropathies are a group of rheumatic diseases that affects the spine. It constitutes of five inflammatory rheumatic diseases that are responsible for disease manifestation and the genetic susceptibility, and they are:

Reactive Arthritis

It is a pain and swelling of the joints due to infections in the body. Most of the infections appear in the intestine, genitals, and urinary tract. Inflammation affects areas such as eyes, skin, and urethra.

Septic Arthritis

It is a condition associated with sepsis or infectious attack in the joints. Some of the symptoms linked with joint arthritis include pain, swelling, and redness in a single joint resulting in decreased mobility.

Psoriatic Arthritis

This kind of arthritis occurs in people suffering from Psoriasis. In this condition, red patches develop on the skin with salivary scales. The patient first develops Psoriasis, which further transforms into psoriatic arthritis.

Ankylosing Arthritis

It is the type of arthritis that affects the spine. The condition is also known as Bechterew disease. It starts from the lower back and spread to different joints of the body. The symptoms associated with this condition include Uveitis, Joint stiffness, and Lower back pain.

Undifferentiated Spondyloarthropathy

In this condition, the joints, tendons, and ligaments swell and inflame, leading to pain and stiffness of the joints.

Arthritis Rheumatoid

Arthritis Symptoms

There are various types of arthritis, and the symptoms may vary for each type, but the most common symptoms associated with the arthritis are as follows:

  • A person may feel pain in the joints and the tissues due to inflammation.
  • The swelling of joints, even the joint, is not involved in any injury.
  • The person may feel inactive and unable to perform the regular tasks due to pain and swelling of the joints.
  • A person with arthritis has a declined motion, and sometimes it may lead to immobility.
  • Redness of the joints
  • Warmth in the joints
  • Low-grade fever, fatigue, feeling lethargic.
  • A person may also experience weight loss with a feeling of being unwell.

Causes Of Arthritis

The precise cause of arthritis is not known, but researchers have found that some of the genes are responsible for causing arthritis:
Few factors associated with the arthritis are:

Age

It is a cause of many types of Arthritis like osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis as the chances increase with the increasing age.

Gender

Arthritis is prevalent among women, but it depends on the types of arthritis as well. Men expected more to develop ankylosing spondylitis, whereas Rheumatoid Arthritis is common among women.

Genetics

Genetics is also a factor of arthritis as the condition may run in families, and people with a family account of arthritis are at higher risk.

Injury

Trauma or joint injuries lead to developing degenerative arthritis.

Overweight

Overweight patients are at higher risk of arthritis as their weight puts much pressure on weight-bearing joints.

Arthritis Diagnosis

Arthritis is tough to diagnose due to several types of arthritis, and they mimic similar symptoms in various conditions. For the diagnosis of arthritis, the doctor collects the complete medical history of the patient and undergoes the physical examination to check the swelling, redness, and warmth in the joints. They perform various imaging tests to find out the condition of the joints, examine the condition of the joint fluid, and perform the procedure as per need.
Several laboratory tests for the diagnosis of arthritis are:

Antinuclear Antibody Test

This test is to find out the blood levels of various antibodies.

Arthrocentesis

The test is for examining the joint fluid.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

It determines the complete picture of the blood component that includes RBCs, WBCs, and Platelets. It may help to find out any infectious sufferings.

Complement Test

This test is explicitly for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, To find the level of complement proteins in the blood.

Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate

This test is to determine the level of inflammation inside the tissues.

C-reactive Proteins

This test is to check out the increased level of inflammation in the body as this protein increases with elevated inflammation.

Rheumatoid Factor

It is to check the presence of antibodies for Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Uric Acid

This test is to check the uric acid as it elevates in gout, which helps in the diagnosis of arthritis.
After various Imaging Tests, if the person tests positive for arthritis to find the actual condition of the joints. Imaging techniques used are X-rays, Ultrasound, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Uric Acid Crystals

Uric Acid

This test is to check the uric acid as it elevates in gout, which helps in the diagnosis of Arthritis.

After various Imaging Tests, if the person tests positive for Arthritis to find the actual condition of the joints. Imaging techniques used are X-rays, Ultrasound, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

How to achieve relief from Joint pain/ Arthritis?

Treatment for arthritis includes the following:

  • Medications
  • Physical therapies
  • Surgeries

Medications for Arthritis

Arthritis treatment includes drugs that give relief from the inflammation, pain, and joint stiffness. The drugs available for treating arthritis include painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs. Few medicines are available for arthritis, which suppresses the disease, including steroids or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.

Physical Therapies

Physical therapies to treat Arthritis include:

Physiotherapy for Arthritis

Physiotherapy is for joint pain or stress relief, which includes steps like massage and pain-relieving exercises.

Hydrotherapy for Arthritis

Hydrotherapy includes exercises with the help of warm water. It is given to patients for soothing pain and to treat the disease.

Occupational Therapy for Arthritis

The physician suggests occupational therapy for maintaining regular activities. This therapy help patient to improve and maintain the regular activities and skills needed for daily living like using both hands without pain.

Surgery for Arthritis

In the case of severe Arthritis or for joint pain relief, surgeries are performed, which can be joint replacement surgery, thus increasing muscle strength.

Measures To Prevent Arthritis

The following measures can prevent arthritis:

  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Healthy diet
  • Daily exercise routine to keep fit
  • Complementary therapies like acupuncture.
  • Stress Management therapies
  • Control Body Weight
  • Avoid injuries
  • Proper medication

Arthritis FAQs

Question 1:

How to cure arthritis?
Answer: It cannot be cured till yet but treated with the help of medications, physical therapy, or surgery, one’s life can get better.

Question 2:

What causes Arthritis?
Answer: The exact cause of arthritis is still not known, but few genes play a vital role in causing arthritis. It may be inherited or might occur because of previous joint injury.

Question 3:

What are the most common types of arthritis?
Answer: The most common types of Arthritis are Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis.

Question 4

What is the difference between ankylosing Arthritis and Arthritis?
Answer: The difference is, ankylosing arthritis affects the spine, lower back, and shoulder first, whereas arthritis affects the smaller joints of hands, knees, etc.

Question 5

What is Bechterew’s disease?
Answer: It is a chronic rheumatic disease that affects the spine. It is associated with ankylosing spondylitis.

Question 6

Which age group does arthritis affect the most?
This condition affects people of every age, gender, and cultural background. Genetics, age, and lifestyle can all play a part in increasing one’s risk of developing arthritis. Now, 1 in 5 Canadians has arthritis. Although it is largely an adult disorder, it may also affect children. One in two adults age 65 and over have this condition.

Question 7

Is arthritis severe?
Answer: Arthritis is quite a serious condition. It’s actually Canada’s most common chronic health problem. Left untreated, it can result in significant and often irreparable damage to your joints, and in some instances, skin, organs, and other areas of the human body resulting in fatigue, pain, loss of function, and disability that can pose substantial challenges to your quality of life. There’s no cure for most forms, so as soon as you’ve been diagnosed, it is with you for life.

Question 8

Can arthritis cause numbness?
Answer: Numbness is often a symptom of nerve involvement. For example, numbness in the arm might be related to nerve discomfort in the neck. In this kind of situation, bending or turning the head to the involved side may raise the signs.
For example, a pinched nerve on the right side of the throat may cause numbness in the arm and hands when a person tries to look back over the ideal shoulder. If nerve irritation becomes severe, then the hand and arm might become weak. A physical examination X-rays, along with an MRI of the neck and electrodiagnostic tests, might be useful in establishing the diagnosis.

Question 9

Can cracking knuckles cause arthritis?
There is no proof that cracking the knuckles may cause arthritis directly. However, repeated trauma of a joint or repeatedly causing it can injure the cartilage and possibly lead to degenerative joint disorder.