Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. Breaking up the word arthritis- ‘itis’ means inflammation and ‘arthro’ means joint. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age due to wear and tear. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune arthritis).
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage breaks down. Cartilage is the hard slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that first targets the lining of joints (synovium).
Uric acid crystals can cause Gouty Arthritis, infections or underlying disease, such as psoriasis or lupus, can cause other types of arthritis.
Treatments vary depending on the type of arthritis.
In the past the main goal of arthritis treatment was to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life using drugs, injections and/or surgery- typically, in that order.
The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis involve the joints. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, your signs and symptoms with include one or more of the following. If you do not have pain it doesn’t mean you do not have arthritis.
- Decreased range of motion
The most common type of arthritis is Osteoarthritis. This involves wear-and-tear damage to your joint’s cartilage. Enough damage can result in bone grinding directly on bone (bone-on-bone), which causes pain and perpetuates the inflammatory processes. This wear and tear can occur over many years, or it can be hastened by a joint injury or infection.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts. This lining, known as the synovial membrane, becomes inflamed and swollen. The disease process can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.
Risk factors for arthritis:
- Family history. Some, usually autoimmune types of arthritis run in families, so you may be more likely to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have the disorder. Your genes can make you more susceptible to environmental factors that may trigger arthritis.
- Age. The risk of many types of arthritis — including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout — increases with age due to wearing out of joints, poor diets and lifestyle choices.
- Your sex. Women are more likely than are men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while most of the people who get gout are men.
- Previous joint injury. People who have injured a joint, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis in that joint.
- Obesity. Carrying excess pounds puts stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine. Obese people have a higher risk of developing arthritis.