Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, & Types

Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, & Types

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 50 million adults have some form of the disease. Symptoms include joint pain, swelling, and stiffness and can range from mild to severe. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain and affect everyday life.

4 Types:

1. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage wears away, leaving bone to rub against bone. This situation can be painful and cause swelling and stiffness in your joints. You may be at risk for osteoarthritis if you are overweight, have a family history of it, or have a previous injury. You can manage this condition by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, using hot and cold therapies, or taking pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medicines.

2. Inflammatory Arthritis

The immune system is key in protecting your body. When your immune system loses its balance, it can attack the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, which can cause joint erosion. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are forms of inflammatory arthritis. This condition is the result of genetics and environmental factors, such as smoking. You can slow the disease by catching it early and treating it with medication.

3. Infectious Arthritis

Your joints can get infections which trigger inflammation. Several infectious organisms can cause this ailment, including salmonella, shigella, hepatitis C, and even some STDs. You can combat the ailment with timely treatments and antibiotics, but in some cases, this form can become chronic.

4. Metabolic Arthritis

Everybody breaks down nutrients differently. As the body breaks down purines, a substance found in your cells and food, your body creates uric acid. Some people have higher levels of uric acid because they naturally produce more. In this case, the body can’t get rid of the uric acid quickly enough. The uric acid can build up, causing need-like crystals to form in the joints and may result in pain or even gout.

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of this disease, see your doctor. Your primary care physician can diagnose you and recommend treatment.

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