Arthritis is a term for more than 100 rheumatic diseases that affects joints, the tissues surrounding the joints, and connective tissues. While arthritis usually causes joint inflammation and pain, it can also include conditions involving the immune system and internal organs.
What are the different types of arthritis?
Types of arthritis include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Childhood arthritis
To learn more about the different types of arthritis, click here.
What causes arthritis?
For many types of arthritis, the cause is unknown. Increased uric acid levels can cause gout, and some infections may cause arthritis. Scientists are currently studying the role of genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle in their relation to arthritis.
Is arthritis common?
Arthritis is very common in the U.S. According to the CDC, 52.5 million American adults currently have arthritis, and the number is expected to increase as the population ages.
Who is at risk for arthritis?
There are many different factors that may lead to arthritis:
- Age: The risk of developing arthritis increases with age.
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop arthritis. About 60% of people with arthritis are women. Gout is more common in men.
- Genetics: Genetics may make you more susceptible to certain types of arthritis.
- Weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the chances of developing arthritis, especially in the knees.
- Joint Injuries: Joint damage can contribute to arthritis.
- Infections: Many types of bacteria and other microbes can affect the joints and lead to arthritis.
- Occupation: Jobs that involve using your hands or frequent knee bending are associated with arthritis.
What is the most common type of arthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Gout, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis follow.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Symptoms may vary depending on the type of arthritis. The most common symptom of arthritis is pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. For a list of symptoms for the different types of arthritis, click here.
What should I do if I have symptoms of arthritis?
Contact your healthcare provider if you are showing symptoms of arthritis. Getting a proper diagnoses can help treat whatever type of arthritis you may have. It is important to catch the disease early to help prevent further pain and damage.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
A doctor will ask for a detailed medical history as well as your symptoms. They may do a physical exam, X ray, and blood tests to determine what type you have. It is possible to have multiple types of arthritis at one time.
How is arthritis treated?
Some types of arthritis can be treated, while others can be managed. The goal of treating arthritis is to manage pain, maintain function, and improve quality of life. Doctors want to control inflammation to make it easier for patients to live their every day lives pain-free. Treatments may include:
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Splints or joint aid
- Patient support
- Weight loss
Self-management is very important as well. It is crucial that patients become educated about their type of arthritis and how to manage it. Physical activity can help reduce arthritic pain. Talk to your doctor about your options.
How can I prevent arthritis?
Arthritis prevention depends on many different factors. Some factors, such as age, gender, and genetics, are not modifiable. However, other factors including weight, infection, occupation, and joint injuries can be managed to help prevent arthritis. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, protect your joints from injury, and practice safe use of your joints to prevent arthritis.
For more information on arthritis, click here.