Arthritis and related diseases can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. As the number one cause of disability in the United States, arthritis can lead to chronic pain, permanent joint damage, restricted movement and the inability to do everyday tasks.
In this blog article, we will discuss the basics of arthritis, including the types of arthritis and arthritis symptoms. Get the facts below, and talk to your doctor about your questions and concerns.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an umbrella term that covers numerous kinds of joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related diseases, the most common being osteoarthritis (OA)—which affects more than 30 million Americans—followed by rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia and gout.
What Are the Symptoms?
In general, arthritis symptoms include:
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Decreased range of motion
But symptoms may vary depending on the type of arthritis a person has. For instance, someone with psoriatic arthritis may experience the joint symptoms of arthritis, plus the skin symptoms of psoriasis, including itchy, scaly rashes.
Who Has Arthritis?
A recent study suggests that as many as 91.2 million U.S. adults have either been officially diagnosed with arthritis or have reported symptoms consistent with an arthritis diagnosis.
While people of all ages get arthritis, it is most common in those age 65 or older (affecting 49.6%). Arthritis is also more common in women than in men. Plus, people who have other chronic conditions are more likely to get it. For example, among adults with arthritis:
- 49% have heart disease
- 47% have diabetes
- 31% are obese
What Causes Arthritis?
Similar to arthritis symptoms, arthritis causes vary. Looking at the two most common types of arthritis, damage occurs from:
- OA: Wear and tear to the cartilage (either built up over the years or from an injury or infection). This results in bone-on-bone grinding, leading to pain and restricted movement.
- RA: The body’s immune system attacking the joint capsule lining, leading to inflammation and swelling. Over time, RA can destroy cartilage and bone inside the joint.
While most joint pain is caused by arthritis, sometimes other conditions cause pain and inflammation in and around the joint (like in the cartilage, bone, muscles, tendons or ligaments). These conditions include:
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Bone cancer
- And others
How Is Arthritis Diagnosed?
To determine if you have arthritis, your doctor will ask about your medical and family history and perform a joint exam to check for swelling, stiffness or redness. They may also run lab tests to look at your inflammation levels and overall wellness. In addition, they’ll probably order an X-ray, ultrasound, and/or MRI to take a closer look at your joints, cartilage and tissue.
How Do You Manage Arthritis?
Treatment for arthritis may include medication, physical therapy, surgery, and other options. It’s important to discuss your options with your doctor and weigh the benefits and risks, especially when considering medications—it can be difficult to find those that are both safe and effective.
Consider Theraworx Relief for Joint Discomfort & Inflammation
Our two-part, topical anti-inflammatory therapy system is a safe and effective option that helps relieve arthritic, inflamed, sore or overused joints. Learn more about it today.