Arthritis is a term used to refer to inflammation, pain, and disease impacting the joints. Today, it affects over 54 million Americans and is the leading cause of disability. By the year 2040, there are expected to be nearly 80 million diagnosed patients.
Arthritis occurs across all ages, races, and genders. However, there are certain risk factors which can make one more likely to suffer from a form of arthritis. These include:
There are in excess of 100 types of arthritis and related health conditions. However, most forms can be divided into one of two categories: degenerative and inflammatory. The most common types of each include:
Osteoarthritis (OA) - Osteoarthritis is by far the most common form of arthritis, impacting over 30 million people. OA is also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. It is most commonly seen in older patients after years of wear and tear. However, it may also occur in younger patients, particularly those whose occupations require frequent, repetitive motions.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - RA impacts about 1.5 million Americans. This form of arthritis arises from an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks joint tissue, causing damage and inflammation.
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) - PsA is also a type of autoimmune disease. It accompanies the skin disease, psoriasis. Of the roughly 7.5 million patients who have psoriasis, about 30% will go on to also develop PsA. Like RA, PsA results in joint damage and inflammation due to the body's own immune system response.
Treatment for arthritis depends on a number of factors including the type of arthritis diagnosed, patient age, and other health conditions. Generally, the best results come not from one single treatment, but from a combination of therapies such as the following:
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is a condition which affects the lining on the end of bones. The cartilage becomes worn and no longer allows smooth movement of the joint. The bony surfaces may touch, causing a grinding feeling. When this happens, pain, stiffness, swelling, and functional disability can result. Treatment options include splinting, cortisone injections, medication, and surgery.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the tissue (synovium) that lines the insides of joints. Synovium normally produces a slippery fluid that lubricates the joint. With this condition, however, the synovial lining is abnormal. It becomes thicker and secretes abnormally large amounts of poor quality fluid which also contains destructive enzymes that can dissolve bone, cartilage and tendons. The result is a joint that is inflamed, stiff and deformed.
Trauma, such as a severe fall or accident may cause premature cartilage breakdown, severe pain and disability.
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