COMMON TYPES OF ARTHRITIS

There are over 100 medical conditions that are classified as forms of Arthritis. These are a few of the more common ones:

Fibromyalgia

It is estimated that 2-4 % of the population suffers from fibromyalgia. Of this percentage, women make up 80-90% cases. Most symptoms develop between the ages of 20 -55, but can occur as late as age 65. The first symptoms of fibromyalgia often occur during menopause. Adults experience fibromyalgia more often than children, but it can affect both sexes at any age. If other members of your family have the condition, you may have an increased risk of developing it yourself.

Fibromyalgia symptoms include stiffness and tenderness of the joints. Chronic pain can also be experienced in the muscles and tendons associated with the affected joint. The severity of fibromyalgia’s symptoms can be aggravated by unrelated illnesses and changes in the weather.

There are two types of Fibromyalgia. The causes of Primary Fibromyalgia are unknown. However, many of the causes of Secondary Fibromyalgia have been identified.

Primary fibromyalgia is not a disease, but more a syndrome or condition of chronic pain. Your nervous system stops responding to various forms of stress normally. Your nerves are where you feel pain. A pain signal from your brain to your nerves is multiplied. This abnormal stronger response travels to all parts of the body. A traumatic personal history and/or genetic factors can make you more susceptible to stress. Physical injuries, emotional trauma, or viral infections are possible triggers for developing the condition.

A specific cause can be identified in secondary Fibromyalgia. Some of the known causes include:

  • Physical injuries: some 20% of neck injury patients also developed secondary fibromyalgia.
  • After surgery, trauma in the upper spine is may trigger the onset of secondary fibromyalgia.
  • Secondary fibromyalgia can be triggered by Ankylosing spondylitis. This condition is chronic inflammation of the spine and the sacroiliac joints located in the lower back.
  • Around 30% of the women with endometriosis, an abnormal growth of tissue in the uterus, also develop secondary fibromyalgia.
  • Studies have shown, in a form of Lyme disease which was unresponsive to the standard Lyme antibiotic treatment, between 10- and 25-percent of those cases developed fibromyalgia later.
  • Hepatitis C appears to trigger some cases of fibromyalgia.
  • If you have lupus or osteoarthritis, you may be more likely to develop the disease.

Fibromyalgia sufferers often have problems sleeping. The medical community is still working out which end this factor belongs on. Are sleeping problems a result of the disease or one of its causes? It is known that patients with Fibromyalgia experience a sleep disorder during deep sleep. The period of REM and dreaming activity is disrupted by pulses of activity normally experienced only during waking hours. The periods you spend in Stage 4 deep sleep are considerably shortened. This results in the build up of fatigue over time.

The chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia often leads to chronic fatigue syndrome.

This is beyond just a feeling of tiredness. It is total exhaustion that interferes with even the smallest daily activities. You can lose the ability to function both mentally and physically while feeling that all energy has been drained from your body. Many people with Fibromyalgia also complain about something described as brain fog. A mental fuzziness which some studies link to brain overload from the constant chronic pain they suffer.

Gout

Gout is caused by an overproduction of uric acid. You may also develop gout if your kidneys are unable to get rid of uric acid as they would normally. The uric acid crystals build up in the body’s tissues and fluids. This results in red hot, and swollen joints with excruciating pain.

The exact cause of gout is unknown. Certain common medications, alcohol, and foods may be contributing factors.

Gout is more common in males, postmenopausal women, and people who drink alcohol.

Symptoms develop suddenly and usually involve only one or a few joints. The big toe, knee, or ankle joints are most often affected.

The pain frequently starts during the night and is often described as throbbing and excruciating. The joint with the symptoms appears infected showing signs redness and tenderness. The affected joint feels elevated warmth internally, and this may even be felt externally on the skin surface.

The painful joint attacks from gout can last several days then subside, only to return from time to time. Subsequent attacks usually last an extended period of time.

Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. Infection fighting antibodies are released by the immune system to attack healthy cells. This causes extensive inflammation and tissue damage. A normal immune system safeguards the body from toxins, bacteria, and diseases. In the case of Lupus and other autoimmune diseases, your body’s immune system doesn’t distinguish between its own body cells and foreign potentially harmful ones. The confused immune system sends out antibodies that attack your own body tissues. The result is widespread inflammation.

The theory about why this happens goes like this: your body contracts an infection from a toxin or bacteria that resembles your body’s normally present proteins. Later, after the infection is cured, your immune system still confuses these normal look-a-like protein cells with the harmful infection. Your immune system sets out to eradicate healthy normal tissue as if it was a harmful infectious intruder.

Lupus can affect the skin, brain, joints and many other organs. Symptoms include skin rashes, pain or swelling in joints, fatigue and fever. Lupus symptoms can flare up and then go away for a few weeks or months: only to return again. No specific cause is known for lupus. Environmental, hormonal and genetic factor may all contribute to developing Lupus. 9-10 Lupus cases are female and Asians and African Americans experience more cases of Lupus than other races.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of Arthritis. The cartilage which normally cushions your joints from damage during movement is worn away. Eventually, the cartilage wears away all together and your bones rub against each other every time you move the joint. Bony spurs can grow in the areas around the joint. Bone spurs can also form within the joint in the area the cartilage occupied. All of this excess bone tissue without any cushioning leads to joint stiffness and pain.

Osteoarthritis usually begins after age 40 and gradually worsens with age. Both sexes are affected before the age of 55 years. After age 55, most new cases of osteoarthritis are women. Almost everyone will experience some symptoms of osteoarthritis by the age of 70. The disease can affect all the joints in the body. It is most common in the hands, knees, and hips. All joints that take stress from movement or experience a great deal of repetitive movement in normal day to day activities.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory disease that strikes multiple joints in the body Rheumatoid Arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease like Lupus. Infection fighting antibodies are released by the immune system to attack healthy cells. This causes extensive inflammation and tissue damage. A normal immune system safeguards the body from toxins, bacteria, and diseases. In the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, your body’s immune system doesn’t distinguish between its own body cells and potentially harmful foreign ones. The confused immune system sends out antibodies that attack your own body tissues. The result is widespread inflammation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis commonly results in pain, redness and swelling in the joints. Joint deformity is often the result of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Prolonged stiffness in the affected joints after sleeping or inactivity is common. Fatigue is another by product of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It can develop at any age and is more common in women than in men.

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease also. Infection fighting antibodies are released by the immune system to attack healthy cells. This causes extensive inflammation and tissue damage. A normal immune system safeguards the body from toxins, bacteria, and diseases. In the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, your body’s immune system doesn’t distinguish between its own body cells and foreign potentially harmful ones. The confused immune system sends out antibodies that attack your own body tissues. The result is widespread inflammation.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis appears between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. It presents most of the other symptoms found in the other firms of arthritis. HRA sufferers usually experience a fever in addition to these other symptoms.

There are three categories of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. (JRA) Pauciarticular JRA, which affects four or fewer joints. 50% of cases of JRA are in this category, and it affects mostly girls. This type of JRA has two additional points of concern. A serious eye inflammation can develop. Children diagnosed with Pauciarticular JRA should have their eyes examined every three months. Another worrisome concern is that in the course of the disease Pauciarticular JRA can cause one leg to grow more quickly than the other. Of course, this sets the stage for developing further arthritis problems later in life.

Polyarticular arthritis makes up 40% of the diagnosed cases of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. This category of JRA is also found more often in girls than boys. Symptoms include swelling or pain in five or more joints. The small joints of the hands are affected as well as the weight-bearing joints. Bumps may form in areas that bear repeated pressure from sitting or leaning. This type of JDA gets worse over time.

Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis affects the whole body. The symptoms of arthritis, swelling, pain, and stiffness, will eventually develop in almost all the patient’s joints. Other symptoms include fevers in the evening which often shoot up to 104 degrees or higher then often drop quickly to normal. There may be a rash that appears and disappears repeatedly. About 10% of the JRA cases are this category. In adults, this disease is known as Still’s Disease.

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