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Arthritis Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

Updated on May 10, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession. I enjoy writing, reading historical novels, gardening, and helping people live a healthier life.

Arthritis Facts

The question "What is arthritis" is a very complex question as there are over 100 types of arthritis, and the very nature of the condition will give you a sense of its complexity. It refers to inflammation of the joints including the joint lining, bones, cartilage or supporting structures. It may be referred to as degenerative joint disease.

In the United States, over 30 million people live with osteoarthritis, and it is common among adults over 65 but people may develop the disease in any age. The prevalence rises significantly after age 50 in men and after age 40 in women.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms

The most common symptoms of arthritis are pain:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Swelling of the joints
  • Pain or aching
  • Decreased range of motion

This condition may involve one or several joints throughout the body. Osteoarthritis is certainly more common as we age our cartilage becomes more brittle, and it has less capacity to repair itself.

For instance, my husband recently started having a problem with his knees when he gets up in the morning. They're very stiff and painful, but once he gets moving the pain and stiffness ease off. That is a fairly typical description of beginning arthritis.

Other factors that cause arthritis include genetics, weight, previous injury, occupational hazards, some high–level sports or illness and infection. Treatment varies according to the type of arthritis.

Comparison – normal knee, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis

More Common Types of Arthritis

Arthritis may be mild, moderate or severe, causing chronic health problems. It is diagnosed by a physical examination, a review of symptoms, possibly some X-rays, and lab tests.

Of the more than 100 different types of arthritis, these are the most common:

Osteoarthritis:

  • It is also called degenerative arthritis and occurs when the cushioning cartilage and joint breaks down.
  • It most commonly affects feet, knees, hips and fingers.
  • It affects 16 million Americans, mostly 45 year of age and older.
  • The disease is responsible for more trouble walking and stair climbing any other disease, and it is the most common indication for total joint replacement of the hip and knee.

Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • This is an immune system disease that attacks the lining or synovial membranes of the joints.
  • Joint damage can become severe and deforming, plus it involves the whole body, which also causes fatigue, weight loss anemia.
  • It can affect the lungs, heart and eyes.
  • It affects 2.1 million Americans, three times more women than men.
  • It generally means a shorter lifespan due to the possible complications.


Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness and stiffness of joints causing limited motion.
  • Juvenile arthritis is one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States, and usually it is rheumatoid arthritis, although there are different levels of severity.
  • It affects approximately 300,000 children under the age of 18.

Gout arthritis X-ray

Ankylosing Spondylitis Arthritis Spine Damage

Other Arthritis Types

Gout Arthritis:

  • It causes sudden severe attacks, usually in big toe.
  • It is a metabolic disorder where uric acid builds up in the blood and crystals form in the joints and other places.
  • Drugs and attention to diet can control gout.
  • 60% of people will have a second attack within a year, but some have chronic gout arthritis.
  • It affects 1 million Americans, 70 to 80% are men, with the first attack starting between 40 and 50 years of age.

Ankylosing Spondylitis:

  • This is a chronic inflammatory disease of the spine that can result in fused vertebrae and rigid spine over the years.
  • It is primarily a genetic disease and affects more than 2.7 million Americans, usually men between the ages of 16 and 35.

Phil Mickelson –Recently Diagnosed with Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic Arthritis in Hand

Psoriatic Arthritis:

  • Bone and other joint tissue becomes inflamed, and it can affect the whole body.
  • It primarily affects the fingers or spine.
  • The symptoms are often mild but for some people it can be quite severe.
  • Phil Michelson has psoriatic arthritis and his interview appears in the magazine Arthritis Today
  • Affects about 160,000 Americans.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus:

  • Involves skin, joints, muscles and sometimes internal organs, particularly the kidneys.
  • Symptoms usually appear in women of childbearing age but can occur in anyone at any age.
  • It can be mild or life-threatening.
  • Affects at least 131,000 Americans, 9 to 10 times as many women as men.


Lupus Problems

Other Types of Arthritis

Other forms:

  • Arthritis can develop as a result of infection. For example, bacteria that causes gonorrhea or Lyme disease can cause arthritis. Infectious arthritis can cause serious damage but usually clears up completely with antibiotics.
  • Scleroderma is a systemic disease that involves the skin, but may include problems with blood vessels, joints and internal organs.
  • Fibromyalgia syndrome is a soft tissue rheumatism that doesn't lead to joint deformity, but affects an estimated 5 million Americans, mostly women.


Arthritis Dietary Suggestions

It is clear that specific nutrients to prevent arthritis needs more research, but enough is known to conclude that the appropriate levels of vitamin C, D, E, antioxidants, Tumeric and Omega-3 fatty acids have protective properties and help reduce inflammation. Also, vitamin D deficiency has been in associated with an increased risk of joint space narrowing and progression of osteoarthritis. An anti-inflammatory diet helps educe pain.

Some other arthritis diet suggestions are to drink green tea, and eat your omega-3 fats foods, which are found in seafood, particularly salmon, and grass–fed beef and chicken. Plus, you can use over-the-counter supplements such as fish oil.

Both of these will help reduce inflammation, and relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Take at least 5 g to 10 g of omega-3 fats per day and a glass or two of green tea should help. Low–carbohydrate diets have also been shown to help curb inflammation in the body.

My Upcoming Surgery

The joints in the fingers of my right hand have been fused due to the osteoarthritis, and one finger is actually out of alignment. I'm having a lot of difficulty functioning using my right hand. When you have arthritis to this degree it makes it difficult to type, for instance, and I drop things frequently. I have a lot of difficulty doing anything that takes much dexterity in my right hand.

I had my left hand operated on four years ago, and it gave me amazing relief. However, it is painful surgery, and recovery takes 6 to 8 weeks with pins through the joints that are being fused. Currently they have improved this particular surgery to make recovery easier.

I also had carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel surgery, which is done by releasing a nerve at the elbow and is the least painful part of this surgery. Cubital tunnel causes pain to run down the outside of your lower arm, making your two smallest fingers numb. I had put the surgery off for over two years. I was glad when it was over and healed. In the meantime I also had physical therapy. As I don't have a drop of ambidextrous blood in me I practiced brushing my teeth with my left hand. The relief and an improved grasp for any project was greatly improved after recovery from the surgery.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis

Summary

All the forms of arthritis affect millions of people, and it is the very difficult disease due to the pain, stiffness and the limitation of mobility. Osteoarthritis is a common problem as people with arthritis age, particularly women.

I hope you have a better understanding of some of the more common types of arthritis and listed in this article.

The copyright to this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

Comments

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  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Mickey Dee, I think the vitamins and healthy food help. I am recovering from the surgery very well and getting better using my left hand except writing. Thanks so much for your comment. God Bless you too.

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 

    7 years ago

    I have Arthur Itis from head to toe but nothing as serious as you're going through., I do pray that you recover soon from the operation and that it helps. I do take vitamin C, D, E, antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation. I have had a time with inflammation. God bless Pamela!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Peg, I'm sorry to hear that your family is suffering so much with arthritis but it sounds like they have a wonderful positive attitude. I had surgery last Thursday and I am using the Dragon software which isn't perfect, however, it is letting me make comments and I have finished a couple hub is that I had started before surgery. Now it's just a matter of time for the healing to take place and then my right hand should be ever so much better. It means a lot to me that you're sending good thoughts and prayers. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 

    7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    Oh Pamela - I'm so sorry to hear of your difficulties and hope that you will soon see relief from the surgery. Wow, you're an inspiration to be back up and running so quickly. When I saw your comment today I realized I hadn't seen you in a while. Now I know why.

    I learned a great deal from this article and understand some of the changes I'm now seeing on myself and family members who suffer the pain of arthritis. Auntie is almost 91 and her hands, knees, neck and shoulders are very, very arthritic. Mom's had 2 compressed vertibrae repaired and suffers with it. Both remain positive and happy that they can continue living in their home nearby.

    Good luck with the Dragon program. Looks like it's working really well for you. Sending loads of good thoughts and prayers for blessings. Peg.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Eiddween, Thank you so much for coming back and making the comments as your best wishes mean a lot to me. I did have the surgery yesterday morning which was done as an outpatient so I am home on drugs and using my Dragon naturally speaking software program as I can't type. I thought I would just check briefly online and see if I had any messages until I'm feeling a little better. Again, thanks so much.

    Audrey, Perhaps your friend could see a hand surgeon she can find a really good one because even though it's a difficult surgery it does straight not your fingers and get you better use of your hands. As I just said I did have the surgery yesterday morning and I'm living on pain pills for a little while but with the Dragon program I think I'll probably be putting up hubs before you know it. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    7 years ago from Washington

    Great information, Pamela and so wishing you the best with your surgery! I have a friend who has arthritis of his hands so badly it makes me wince just to look at his poor gnarled fingers. It also makes me shut up and quit complaining about all my overuse symptoms! You guys have it much worse and I can't imagine not being able to type...thinking of you!!

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 

    7 years ago from Wales

    Hi, thanks for the reply and I tend to be grateful for what I can do it is strange how we learn to cope with the pain as well.

    It's a bit like saying that your glass is half full instead of half empty.

    I hope that made sense, I'm terrible for waffling!!!

    You sound as if you are a positive person also and I wish you luck with your operation and keep in touch and let me know how you get on.

    I also forgot to say in my first message that I've pushed all the buttons on this one too.

    Take care my friend.

    Eiddwen.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Eidgwen, My brother has had three back surgeries I know he has certainly suffered a lot of pain. Am sorry to hear that you continue to have problems and I appreciate your comments very much.

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 

    7 years ago from Wales

    Hi Pamela,

    Thank you for this great hub whioch I'm sure will be very useful to many.

    However I am sorry that you are suffering yourself.

    Due to two operatios on my back arthritis is now setting in to the faccet joints, so I can empathise some what with you.

    Thank you once more for sharing this one.

    Useful/up here.

    Take care,

    Eiddwen.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Darsky, I am sorry to hear you have such a severe case. It would seems like something could be done to help. Thanks for sharing your situation and thanks for your comments and prayers. Love and peace to you.

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 

    7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    Dear Pam, I came back again because of what you are going through, I am so sorry this has happened to you and the discomfort you are feeling. I would help you if I could...thank you for explaining this it did help me. Love and prayers darski

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 

    7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    What an excellent hub, I have arthrities so bad, and I have it in my spine, knees, toes, I am allergic to all pain medications. And how hard it is to move around. I went to the best spine specialist I could fine. The said nothing could be done...I had it all over, from my spine it is moving to my tail bone and neck. The doc also said I am getting pain in my legs from the pinched nerves from the spine, and they can't help me. I think you were one of the lucky ones. I love you dear friend, rate up love & peace darski

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    KK Gals, Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers. They are much appreciated.

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Good Luck Pamela in your upcoming sugery. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hanna, I'm glad to hear your husband is doing well and I am looking forward to getting the surgery behind me as I know life will be easier. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • HealthyHanna profile image

    HealthyHanna 

    7 years ago from Utah

    Arthritis is a hard disease. Good luck to you. My husband had a knee replacement a year a go. He is doing fine.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Peggy, Thank you for wishing me luck with my surgery. I will write about the new software after surgery and it may be that it will be helpful for many people. Thanks for your comments.

    Lorlie, I have a good friend that is doing the same thing you are by putting off her hip surgery. I appreciate your comments and your good thoughts.

    Dallas, Thank you so much for the good wishes. It is such a nice feeling to write on hubpages or people care about each other.

  • dallas93444 profile image

    Dallas W Thompson 

    7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

    I join your "well-wishers" and hope all will be OK. Thanks for sharing! Flag up!

  • lorlie6 profile image

    Laurel Rogers 

    7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

    Oh Pamela, what an ordeal! Perhaps you've given me some courage to have my second hip operated on, I've been putting it off for some time.

    I'll be thinking of you.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    7 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Good luck with your surgery Pamela and wishing you a speedy recovery. Will be curious to read about that new software that responds to your voice. Sounds like it would be good for many people to have and use.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    JY, Thanks for your comments.

  • JY3502 profile image

    John Young 

    7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

    Very informative Pam. I learned a few things. Thanks.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Ashlie, Thank you so much for your comments and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your prayers.

    Hello, The knees are commonplace to get osteoarthritis. Thank you so much for your good wishes for my recovery and I appreciate your comments.

    BlissfulWriter, I'm finding that I'm making fewer corrections now that I've used this new program for couple of weeks. It just doesn't do everything perfect though. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • BlissfulWriter profile image

    BlissfulWriter 

    7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing, especially the Arthritis Dietary Suggestions. I try to take omega-3 and D every day. And I too use Dragon's Naturally Speaking software. Although I still have to make corrections to its speech recognition, it does save on the typing and the hand.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    7 years ago from London, UK

    Oh, Pamela, what a sad news and thank for sharing it with us. I also be thinking of you and wish you a speedy and complete recovery. I have got Osteoaristis in my knees and hobble about like flipper. I wish all the best and take care.

  • AskAshlie3433 profile image

    AskAshlie3433 

    7 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA

    Hey there Pam. First, hope all is good on the surgery. Hate that you must do that. Very useful hub. I didn't know they were so many. I know when you get it in the back, they say it is awful. I keep you in my praires and hope for a speedy recovery. Aloha.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    ImChemist, Thanks for your comment.

    Patriot, I can only imagine how difficult 2 hip replacements must have been but it certainly didn't damage your feisty personality! Thanks for your comment.

  • profile image

    partisan patriot 

    7 years ago

    Pamela

    Two hip replacements later I am very familiar with Osteoarthritis; had my first at 55 years of age.

  • ImChemist profile image

    ImChemist 

    7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this information about arthritis , i rated your hub useful.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    rpadulis, Thank you so much for your comments as I always appreciate them. Maybe with the Dragon software I'll be back before you expect me. I appreciate your prayers.

  • rpalulis profile image

    rpalulis 

    7 years ago from NY

    Wow I never knew there were over 100 different types of arthritis.

    I too am curious about the Dragon software, I have some tendent issues and carpal tunnel in my right hand. Being on the computer for a while doesn't seem to help.

    Pamela I pray your surgery go well and for a quick recovery. We will all be thinking of you here in HubLand.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Ms. Dee, Thank you so much for your comments and I am excited about the new software which I'm using right now so I can be used to it. Thank you for the blessing.

    Martie, Maybe I will write a hub about the Dragon software. It seems the more you use it the better it responds to your voice. If you want a new paragraph you simply say new paragraph. Thank you so much for your comments and your best wishes for my recovery.

  • MartieCoetser profile image

    Martie Coetser 

    7 years ago from South Africa

    Pamela this is an excellent article about Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is slowly but certainly getting on top of me, so I have to get serious about diet and medicine. I am curious about that Dragon Naturally Speak program. How do you tell it to start a new paragraph, et cetera. I hope you will write.... uhum.... speak a hub about it :))

    I wish you all of the best with the operation and a speedy recovery :)

  • Ms Dee profile image

    Deidre Shelden 

    7 years ago from Texas, USA

    Great overview of arthritis - rated Useful for me, and Up. Also, Awesome because of your awesome story! Ouch, my osteoarthritis hurts for you! That's really cool how you are trying out voice software to tide you over and hope it works out well enough for us to keep hearing from you during your challenging recovery time. Blessings!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Will, Thanks so much for your comment.

  • WillStarr profile image

    WillStarr 

    7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

    Arthritis is the curse of aging...if you live long enough, you'll start having 'little hurtin's' sooner or later.

    Well researched Hub Pamela!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Thanks POP. I appreciate your thoughts for a speedy recovery..

    drbj, Your praise is making me blush! :-) Thank you for your good wishes for a speedy recovery.

    CMCastro, I hope your neck is not arthritis but an x-ray would probably answer that question, but then as a nurse you know that. Thanks so much for your comments and good wishes for my recovery.

  • CMCastro profile image

    Christina M. Castro 

    7 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

    Pamela, I have developed an annoying "Creaking" in my cervical spine (my neck). It actually only happens when I sit long periods of time without neck movement. The word "arthritis" has been common in my family's household for my whole life, and I will do everything I can to prevent complications. Me being a nurse and Dad being a Dr. I should be able to nip this. I hope for you the best recovery and that you will overcome your symptoms. This is definitely good information to give. CM

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    7 years ago from south Florida

    A credentialed arthritis specialist could not have written a more complete and edifying dissertation, Pamela.

    Here's to a very quick and complete recovery.

    That "Dragon" software program sounds awesome. Like you, m'dear.

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 

    7 years ago

    Good luck Pam. I will be thinking of you all the time and praying for a speedy recovery.

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