Understanding Arthritis PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 13 October 2009 11:59
Taken from http://www.radpod.org/2007/11/23/tophaceous-gout/According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis literally means joint inflammation. But the term is often used to refer to any of the more than 100 diseases that affect the joints – where two or more bones meet to allow movement. Currently, there are 46 million people diagnosed with arthritis in the United States. It is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems and the nation’s leading cause of disability amongst Americans.

If you are currently battling arthritis you know that it limits everyday activities that others take for granted such as walking, dressing and bathing. Women are affected more greatly than men, but even children are at risk. Arthritis sufferers will tell you that the condition can come in many different shapes and forms affecting each individual differently. Arthritis causes pain, loss of movement and sometimes swelling.

Here are some types of arthritis as described by the Arthritis Foundation:

  • Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage that covers the ends of bones in the joint deteriorates, causing pain and loss of movement as bone begins to rub against bone. It is the most prevalent form of arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease in which the joint lining becomes inflamed as part of the body’s immune system activity. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most serious and disabling types, affecting mostly women.
  • Gout: It is usually the result of a defect in body chemistry. This painful condition most often attacks small joints, especially the big toe. Fortunately, gout almost always can be completely controlled with medication and changes in diet.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis: A type of arthritis that affects the spine. As a result of inflammation, the bones of the spine grow together.
  • Juvenile arthritis: A general term for all types of arthritis that occur in children. Children may develop juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or childhood forms of lupus, ankylosing spondylitis or other types of arthritis.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus): A serious disorder that can inflame and damage joints and other connective tissues throughout the body.
  • Scleroderma: A disease of the body’s connective tissue that causes a thickening and hardening of the skin.
  • Fibromyalgia: A condition in which widespread pain affects the muscles and attachments to the bone. It affects mostly women.

Many other arthritis-related conditions and connective tissue disorders also affect more women than men. These include Raynaud's phenomenon, Sjögren's syndrome, spondyloarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, myofascial pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, polymyalgia rheumatica, dermatomyositis, and Reiter's Syndrome. These conditions that may not be as prevalent as others described above, but are still health problems that should be treated in conjunction with an experienced health-care team.

Also, certain types of infection (such as Lyme disease and syphilis) are known to cause a persistent arthritis. Successful treatment of the infection itself does not always eliminate the residual arthritis, which can mimic OA, RA, or a mixed form.

References:

Tamer Elsafy (2009), "Understanding Arthritis: Types and All Natural Treatments", Accessed via http://www.alternativehealthjournal.com/article/understanding_arthritis_types_and_all_natural_treatments/3819
Reginald B. Cherry (2009), "The Many Faces of Arthritis", Accessed via http://www.christianpost.com/article/20091006/the-many-faces-of-arthritis/index.html
Arthritis Foundation (2009), "Arthritis And Heart Disease", Accessed via http://www.arthritis.org/heart-disease-connection.php
 
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