Arthritis is a term that refers to over 100 conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissues we need for movement and function. Here are some of the most common types:
1. Osteoarthritis (OA):
The most common form of arthritis, OA occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints gradually deteriorates.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):
An autoimmune and inflammatory disease where your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body, causing inflammation in the affected parts of the body, commonly the joints.
3. Psoriatic Arthritis:
An inflammatory type of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis, a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales.
A painful form of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the bloodstream and characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints.
5. Juvenile Arthritis (JA)
This term is used to describe arthritis when it occurs in children age 16 or younger. It includes various types of arthritis, such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
6. Ankylosing Spondylitis:
A form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, although other joints can become involved, and it leads to the fusion of the vertebrae that can lead to a rigid spine.
7. Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, or SLE):
An autoimmune disease that can cause arthritis besides affecting other parts of the body like the skin and internal organs.
8. Septic Arthritis:
An infection in the joint that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It’s also known as infectious arthritis.
9. Reactive Arthritis (RA):
This type of arthritis occurs as a reaction to an infection elsewhere in the body and includes inflammation of the joints. Sometime trauma can cause reactive Arthritis.
While not a classic form of arthritis because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues, fibromyalgia is considered a rheumatic condition that impairs the joints and/or soft tissues and causes chronic pain.
Each type of arthritis has its own causes and treatments. Some forms of arthritis are the result of wear and tear, while others are related to the immune system or infections. Diagnosis and management should be guided by a healthcare professional. Blood tests and scans are the gold standard of diagnosis. Some recent research shows that metabolic health may be a bigger factor than we thought for Arthritis.