July 18, 2024

Healthcare Supreme

Technology In Healthcare

Understanding Different Types of Arthritis

Because it can involve several joints at once, ranging in type, severity and causes, not to mention the ways it can interrupt the flow of everyday life, arthritis is hardly simple. Some forms involve inflammation of the joints by the body’s own antibodies in cases of autoimmune arthritis; others may develop due to old injuries or comorbidities.

In some cases, ageing and general wear and tear are to blame for arthritis, as are injuries to the joints. In others, underlying medical conditions such as gout, psoriatic arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome can trigger arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

The most common form of arthritis, known as osteoarthritis, affects people of all ages and results from the slow, progressive degeneration of joints and the sometimes painfully unsatisfactory cartilage that cushions joints where bones meet.

Symptoms could include feeling pain when they move or click them, stiffness, a smaller range of motion, hearing or feeling their joint click or pop.

Other symptoms might include a fever and pain and tenderness around a joint. In severe cases, some types of arthritis can deform and disable joints. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis; each requires a custom course of treatment – and knowing these differences helps to lead people to diagnose symptoms sooner and thus to care for them more effectively.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease characterised by joint pain, tenderness, heat and swelling. Typically affecting women at a young or middle age, it is an autoimmune disease, meaning your body, in an attempt to attack it as part of itself, mistakenly attacks the tissues lining your joints.

RA also affects other organs and tissues. It can cause dry eyes and dry mouth (Sjogren’s syndrome) and increase your risk for osteoporosis – a disease of osteoarthritis in which bones break more easily than usual.

Doctors are able to diagnose RA through discussion of its symptoms and by examining any affected joints. They also take blood and urine samples and, if needed, they’ll ask for x-rays. they might also suggest scans for the heart and bones, to check how RA has affected them.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is the skin disease psoriasis (which leaves bright red, scaly patches and flakes – think of the musician Andy Bell, a near-skinned perfectionist who had every last flake of his dead skin removed) with some arthritis added in; added, that is, alongside its signature aches and pains, often felt on both sides of the body, with both knees, tendons, ankles, feet and the small joints of your hands liable to be stiff or puffy; stiff, puffy joints that can feel (if they prove to be arthritic) like, to name but a few ideas, a slightly delayed guilt – which means that cumulatively, they could all come to blows; stiff, puffy morning joints that can swell (in puffy patches too, like sad balloons) until you have your full quota of fingers and toes; and crooked nails, the surface covered with tiny ridges and pits.

You may be referred to either a dermatologist for skin symptoms and joint pain or to a rheumatologist for joint pain. You are likely to be asked about your medical and family history and undergo a physical exam, and imaging such as X-rays, ultrasound or an MRI scan to get a close look at your joints is likely, as are blood tests, including testing for Rheumatoid Factor (RF).

Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjögren’s includes tiredness and dry eyes, dry mouth and other glands, but can have more serious complications, such as thrush (sore throat), rashes, aches and pains in joints and muscles – all could cause heart attacks (and kidney, lung and liver problems)!

If you have Sjogren’s Syndrome, it is also hard to detect. Before a definitive diagnosis for Sjogren’s is granted, the physician needs to rule out other possibilities, including diabetes and abnormal medication reactions or side effects. Two blood tests can detect whether you have anti-Ro and anti-La, both antibodies that indicate the presence of Sjogren’s. A biopsy of your salivary gland will also confirm the diagnosis. Available treatments include the use of over-the-counter eye/mouth drops; drugs that increase saliva production; immunosuppressive drugs; and immunosuppressive drugs.

Spondyloarthritis

Spondyloarthritis (SpA) is an umbrella term for a set of arthritis-like conditions, characterised by inflammation at places where bones are linked to ligaments or tendons – called entheses. SpA also involves generalised pain and stiffness at joints where these bony appendages meet other bones (like palms and fingers), and they often jointly (pun not intended!) affect your pelvic joints called Sacroiliac (SI) joints or spine joints, where the pain and stiffness may be much more rapid than the rest of your body. Major categories of SpA are ankylosing Spondylitis, Reactive Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Enteropathic Arthritis. Genetics are a key factor in determining the risk of this family of diseases since the immune coordinated process that leads to this set of diseases can be initiated by a virus carried in the genes (called HLA-B27 gene).

X-rays can help confirm a diagnosis of various arthritic conditions, but your physician will also take a thorough medical history and perform a physical exam. Other testing, such as an MRI or laboratory analysis, can lend further support to the diagnosis.