Types of Arthritis
According to Arthritis Ireland, there are more than 100 different types of Arthritis. Below are some of the most common types and a brief description of each:
- This is the most common form of arthritis. It involves the gradual wearing down of the protective surfaces of the bones where they meet at the joint. The joints which are most commonly affected are the hips and the knees. However any joint may be affected.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis is actually an autoimmune disorder. Unlike Osteoarthritis, it is the lining of the joints, rather than the articulating surfaces, that are affected. The body mistakenly attacks it’s own tissues which results in chronic inflammation within the joints. This condition is known to be extremely painful. Over time, there is bony erosion and joint deformity which causes ongoing pain and loss of function. The smaller joints of the hands and feet are most commonly the worst affected.
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- This condition sees the formation of new bone growth in the spine. The condition may affect other joints including the hips and shoulders. This new bone formation leads to pain and permanent loss of movement. In advanced cases, the term ‘bamboo spine’ is used to describe near fusion of spinal joints and stooped forward appearance.
- Gout is another condition which can cause pain, inflammation and loss of joint range of motion. However this is distinguished from other forms of arthritis by its cause. Gout is caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream. This leads to the formation of painful crystals in the joint which results in pain. Gout most commonly affects the joint of the big toe.
- Fibromyalgia is a syndrome, that is, a collection of symptoms rather than a disease in its own right. Since there are no outward signs, the condition is notoriously difficult to diagnose. The condition can be extremely isolating for sufferers as it is so poorly understood. Fibromyalgia is characterised by pain, stiffness and fatigue.
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Psoriatic Arthritis is a condition which may affect some sufferers of psoriasis. It is characterised by pain and stiffness of the joints and can range form mild to severe. Similar to psoriasis, sufferers may see flare-ups and remissions of the condition throughout the lifespan.
- Juvenile Arthritis
- The term juvenile arthritis is used to describe any inflammatory or rheumatological condition affecting the joints of persons aged 16 or under.
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