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Arthritis: Types, Symptoms, and Causes
There are different types of arthritis, and each type can affect individuals differently.2 Here are the common types of arthritis, their symptoms and causes, as well as how doctors diagnose arthritis.
Types of Arthritis and Their Symptoms
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the world, affecting millions of adults.3
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that acts as a cushion for the bones wears down. This type of arthritis affects the bone, cartilage, ligaments, fat, and tissues in the joints.
Juvenile arthritis describes inflammatory and rheumatic diseases that develop in kids under the age of 16.5 The term does not relate to one specific disease, but is used for many types of arthritis that occur in children.6 It affects thousands of kids and teenagers in the United States.
With juvenile arthritis, the immune system mistakenly releases inflammatory chemicals that attack healthy cells and tissues. Juvenile arthritis can cause permanent damage to the joints, making it difficult for kids to do everyday activities such as getting dressed or playing.7
Some of the symptoms of juvenile arthritis include joint pain, swelling, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, and difficulty walking or playing.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine.8 This kind of arthritis typically begins in the lower back, and it can make its way up to the neck and affect other parts of the body.
In response to the inflammation caused by ankylosing spondylitis, the body produces extra calcium around the spine.9 This can cause extra pieces of bone to grow, which can make the back stiff.
Ankylosing spondylitis is sometimes mistaken as a common backache. However, this type of arthritis is long-lasting and can affect other surrounding areas such as the hips or neck.
Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the joints. However, it can also affect other tissues in the body and organs, including the lungs and the heart.
Psoriatic arthritis is similar to rheumatoid arthritis with its symptoms and swelling, but it typically affects fewer joints.13
Gout is caused by hyperuricemia, which is when too much uric acid builds up in the joints and tissues in the body.
Causes of Arthritis
Different types of arthritis have different causes, but for some types, the causes may be unknown.2 Some common contributing factors that can put people at risk for arthritis include:
- Older age
- Family history of arthritis
- A job or sport that puts pressure on the joints
- Autoimmune diseases
- Lack of exercise
Arthritis Diagnosis and Treatment
To properly diagnose arthritis, doctors will perform a physical examination alongside different tests. During the physical exam, they will check for swelling around the joints, redness, and warmth. A doctor will also want to see how well you can move your joints and if there’s any stiffness or pain associated with moving.15
Different body fluids, including blood and joint fluid, can be tested to help doctors determine what type of arthritis you may have and if there’s inflammation in the body.16
Blood tests can detect abnormal antibodies that may be a sign of lupus, connective tissue disease, or rheumatoid arthritis. Uric acid can also be detected in the blood or in joint fluid, which is a sign of gout.
Imaging tests may be used to look for possible problems within the joints. For example, X-rays can show cartilage loss or bone damage and MRIs can provide a more detailed look at cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
Although there are different types of arthritis, they all have a few things in common: arthritis causes pain, inflammation, and symptoms tend to get worse over time.
Individuals who have a certain type of arthritis may have a certain treatment plan they follow specifically based on their needs. However, these are some good tips to get natural relief that can work for most people with arthritis:
- Manage your weight. Extra weight puts more pressure on the joints, so maintaining a healthy weight can help those with arthritis.
- Exercise. Exercise can help you manage weight, keep the joints flexible, and strengthen the muscles around the joints to provide more support.
- Hot and cold therapy. Heat and cold treatments can help relieve pain and inflammation that are associated with most types of arthritis. Try a hot bath, heated blanket, or ice packs.
- Healthy diet. A well-balanced diet with fruits and vegetables can help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.17
Learn More Today
Saber Healthcare encourages you and your loved ones to learn more about arthritis today. If you have an older loved one who may have arthritis, share this information with them.
Saber Healthcare is an organization that provides services to more than 115 buildings across the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Delaware, and Florida. To learn more about our company and services, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term-care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Arthritis.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. November 3rd, 2021. Accessed May 4th, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/arthritis.htm#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%2024,%2C%20rheumatoid%20arthritis%2C%20and%20lupus.
- “Arthritis.” Cleveland Clinic, clevelandclinic.org. April 15th, 2021. Accessed May 4th, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12061-arthritis.
- “How Osteoarthritis Affects Your Joints.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. September 4th, 2021. Accessed May 4th, 2022. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/what-is-osteroarthritis.
- “Osteoarthritis.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. June 16th, 2021. Accessed May 5th, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351925#:~:text=Osteoarthritis%20is%20the%20most%20common,%2C%20knees%2C%20hips%20and%20spine.
- “Juvenile Arthritis (JA).” Arthritis Foundation, arthritis.org. Accessed May 4th, 2022. https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/juvenile-arthritis.
- “Juvenile Arthritis.” Boston Children’s Hospital, childrenshospital.org. Accessed May 4th, 2022. https://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions/juvenile-arthritis.
- “Childhood Arthritis.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. July 27th, 2020. Accessed May 5th, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/childhood.htm#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20type%20of,and%20can%20result%20in%20disability.
- Bernstein, Susan. “What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis?” WebMD, webmd.com. October 6th, 2021. Accessed May 4th, 2022. https://www.webmd.com/ankylosing-spondylitis/what-is-ankylosing-spondylitis.
- “Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS).” Versus Arthritis, versusarthritis.org. Accessed May 5th, 2022. https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/ankylosing-spondylitis/.
- “Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. July 27th, 2020. Accessed May 4th, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/rheumatoid-arthritis.html#:~:text=Rheumatoid%20arthritis%2C%20or%20RA%2C%20is,usually%20many%20joints%20at%20once.
- “Rheumatoid Arthritis.” Cleveland Clinic, clevelandclinic.org. February 18th, 2022. Accessed May 5th, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4924-rheumatoid-arthritis.
- “Psoriasis: Facts, Symptoms, & Awareness.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. August 12th, 2021. Accessed May 5th, 2022. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/psoriasis-awareness.
- “Psoriatic Arthritis.” The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System, hopkinsmedicine.org. Accessed May 5th, 2022. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis#:~:text=Psoriatic%20arthritis%20is%20a%20type,affect%20fewer%20joints%20than%20RA.
- “Gout.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. July 27th, 2020. Accessed May 5th, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/gout.html#:~:text=quality%20of%20life%3F-,What%20is%20gout%3F,no%20symptoms%2C%20known%20as%20remission.
- “Arthritis.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. September 15th, 2021. Accessed May 5th, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350777.
- “Blood, Fluid and Tissue Tests for Arthritis.” Arthritis Foundation, arthritis.org. Accessed May 5th, 2022. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/blood,-fluid-and-tissue-tests-for-arthritis.
- Ellis, Mary Ellen. “Natural Relief from Arthritis Pain.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. May 22nd, 2020. Accessed May 5th, 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/osteoarthritis/arthritis-natural-relief.