Although the word arthritis actually means "joint inflammation," the word has actually taken on a broader meaning. Arthritis is now associated with more than 100 rheumatic conditions that affect joints, the tissue that surrounds joints and other connective tissue. The four most common types of arthritis are discussed below.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis, affecting about 27 million Americans. OA, also called degenerative joint disease, is a chronic condition in which the joint's cartilage breaks down. Because cartilage cushions the end of the bones and allows easy movement of the joints, the loss of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other. This causes stiffness and loss of movement in the joint and is very painful. Osteoarthritis of the knees and hips is the most common form of arthritis-related disability in the United States.
Gout occurs when crystals build up in the joints and tissues. These crystals cause recurrent attacks of painful joint inflammation, kidney stones, the formation of lumps of collected crystal under the skin, and impaired kidney function. Gout is one of the most treatable forms of arthritis and if treated properly will not lead to long-term effects.
Fibromyalgia, a complex chronic pain disorder that affects an estimated 10 million Americans, is characterized by chronic, widespread pain, multiple tender points, fatigue and quite often psychological distress. Patients with severe fibromyalgia may be debilitated and have trouble completing basic daily functions.
Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disease which affects over 1 million Americans, can lead to long-term joint damage. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) involves an inflammation of the lining or synovium of the joints. RA is a progressive disease. The first stage is swelling of the synovial lining, which causes pain, warmth, stiffness and swelling of the joint. Rapid division and growth of cells characterizes the second stage of RA. During the third stage of RA, the inflamed cells release enzymes that may digest bone and cartilage. The joint may lose shape and alignment, which creates more pain and loss of movement. Early diagnosis and treatment of RA can limit damage.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Age increases the risk for osteoarthritis
- Most people get osteoarthritis after age 45.
- More women are impacted by osteoarthritis than men.
- Men under the age of 45 are more likely to have osteoarthritis than women.
- Excess weight can contribute to the onset of knee osteoarthritis.
- People who have previously damaged a joint may experience osteoarthritis in that joint.
- Gout affects mostly men.
- Gout can almost always be completely controlled with medication and changes in diet.
- Fibromyalgia affects mostly women.
- This disorder affects approximately 10 million Americans.
- It is very difficult to diagnose.
- Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain.
- Women are two to three times more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis than men.
- Rheumatoid arthritis develops more often than expected the year after giving birth.
- Onset of rheumatoid arthritis typically occurs between 30 and 50 years of age.
- People with the genetic market HLA-DR4 have an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Here are some important facts about arthritis:
- Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States.
- Just over one in five adults, or 46.4 million adults, in the United States has doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
- Arthritis affects all race and ethnic groups.
- An estimated 294,000 children under age 18 have some form of arthritis or rheumatic condition.
Here are some important facts about OA:
- Osteoarthritis affects about 27 million Americans.
- Osteoarthritis symptoms progress slowly.
- Overall, women are more often affected by osteoarthritis than men.
- Men under the age of 45 are more likely to have osteoarthritis than women of a similar age.
- Osteoarthritis usually only affects certain joints - hips, hands, knees, low back and neck.
- Weight control is important for prevention of osteoarthritis.
- For every pound of weight lost, there is a four pound reduction of the load exerted on each knee during activities.
- Osteoarthritis is major cause of work disability.
- Osteoarthritis greatly impacts a person's quality of life.
Here are some important facts about rheumatoid arthritis:
- About 1.3 million people in the United States have Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Seventy percent of people with Rheumatoid arthritis are women.
- Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, even in children.
- Men are more likely to be severely impacted by rheumatoid arthritis than women.
- Rheumatoid arthritis often goes into remission in pregnant women.
- Rheumatoid arthritis develops more often than expected in pregnant women.
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