Arthritis affects over 10 million people in the UK, according to the NHS reports. It is normally linked with older people, but children are not untouched by this health problem as well. It affects around 15,000 children and young adults in the UK.
A very few people might know that there are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Each type is unique and causes pain in different ways. Also, the causes and diagnosis of each type vary from one another.
What to Do If You Have Arthritis
If you are experiencing chronic pain, inflammation or stiffness in your joints, see your GP or doctor as early as possible. They may refer you to the specialist, who will use their expertise to inform you about the type of arthritis you have.
In order to find the most effective treatment, it is imperative to determine which type you have. Read here some of the common and uncommon types of arthritis:
1. Osteoarthritis (OA)
It is the most common type that causes pain and inflammation in the joints. OA affects about 8 million people in the UK.
Symptoms: In OA, you may experience morning stiffness and pain in the knee joints, lower back, hip or neck. This happens because of the cracking of cartilage in your joints, which causes bones to rub together and your joints to inflame.
Factors Responsible for OA: Overuse of joints, age, obesity, and family history
If you have osteoarthritis, your doctor will examine your medical history and then recommend some tests.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
It is also another type of common arthritis, which affects over 400,000 people in the UK. It is an autoimmune disease in which your body starts attacking your healthy joints, causing pain and swelling. It mostly occurs with individuals between the age of 40 and 50. Women are three times more likely to be affected by Rheumatoid arthritis than men.
People with RA may experience morning stiffness and pain in the same joints on both sides of the body. It also causes swollen fingers, wrists, shoulders, elbows, knees or redness in the skin. Additional symptoms include a sensation in the hands and feet of needles, dry eyes and mouth, sleeplessness, weakness, anemia, and fatigue.
Factors Responsible for RA: Age, Family history, obesity, smoking
People with RA also develop problems in organs such as heart, kidney, lungs or skin. However, it can be minimized if you start your medication within 3 months of the first warning signs. Therefore, it is vital to recognize RA as soon as possible.
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) –It is a chronic autoimmune condition that mainly attacks the point where the ligaments and muscles join to your bone. It causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in your body, especially in your lower back. This may lead to bone destruction, causing spine deformity and hips & shoulder impairment. People who have the HLA-B27 gene are more susceptible to develop spondyloarthropathies. They are more likely to get other diseases such as psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, or some types of juvenile arthritis.
Reactive Arthritis: This arthritis causes severe pain in the eyes, joints, and urethra. It occurs after an infection in the genital tract, or the bowel by the certain bacteria.
Cervical Spondylosis: It is also called neck arthritis or cervical osteoarthritis that affects the joints of the neck. In this condition, the bones and cartilage of the cervical spine are damaged, which cause episodes of stiffness and soreness.
Lupus: A chronic autoimmune disease- Lupus- is a health problem in which body’s immune system attacks the healthy tissues and organs. It damages kidneys, the heart, lungs, and skin.
Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis that causes swelling mainly in one joint- a big toe, but can affect any joint. It gives burning sensation, stiffness and inflammation in the area. The intense pain and swelling are because of the deposition of the particles of uric acid in a joint.
Fibromyalgia: A person with fibromyalgia feels pain in the soft tissue and muscles. He may also feel weakness, sleep problems and pain in muscles and joints.
Psoriatic Arthritis: People who are suffering from psoriasis are more likely to get psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes itchy or painful thick red patches with silvery scales. Generally, psoriatic arthritis always follows psoriasis, but sometimes the joint problems start before skin lesions.
Enteropathic Arthritis: It is a type of inflammatory arthritis that mostly occurs in people who have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, which are forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It affects the spine and the peripheral joints. People with enteropathic arthritis may experience diarrhea, pain and weight loss.
Secondary Osteoarthritis: This type of arthritis is caused because of the other incidents such as accidental injuries, obesity, gout, diabetes and repeated surgery to the joint structures.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: As its name suggests, this type of arthritis affects children under the age of 16. It changes the alignment of the kid’s joints, tightens the muscles and erodes the bones. Kids suffering from this arthritis may experience weakness, fevers, inflammation and stiffness for long periods.
There are many other types of arthritis. To examine what type of arthritis you have and diagnose it, your doctor will take your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and order blood tests or radiographic tests. They may also order you for:
These tests will allow the specialist to figure out if you have a systemic inflammation and an autoimmune reaction.
Self-help: To make the pain of arthritis less bad, you can try simple exercises every day. These exercises can be done easily at home. Also, save yourself from the potential side-effects of arthritis medication by taking a healthy diet.