Pain in your joints may be due to overuse, which you can often alleviate by resting. However, in some cases, pain can be chronic and a symptom of a more severe problem—arthritis. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, and their symptoms and treatments differ. Here are some common types of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, also known as “wear and tear” arthritis. It is the most common type, affecting more than 30 million Americans. Osteoarthritis develops gradually and gets worse over time.
Age plays a role in the development of this condition, but other risk factors include:
- Sex (women are at higher risk)
- Present and past joint injuries
- Repetitive stress on your joint
- Other metabolic diseases like diabetes and hemochromatosis
It is characterized by pain, swelling, and mobility problems in the affected joints. Pain occurs when cartilage, which serves as the cushion between the bones, breaks down. The exact cause for osteoarthritis is unknown, and there is no available cure for this condition at the moment. However, treatment options can help relieve pain and help you move better.
Our immune system is primarily responsible for protecting our body from infection and disease. However, in some cases, it malfunctions and attacks our healthy tissues as well, which is what happens to those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This autoimmune disease affects not only your joints but also the skin, eyes, heart, lungs, and even blood vessels. Having RA also increases your risk for other diseases like osteoporosis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Like osteoarthritis, the exact cause of RA is unknown, but its risk factors include:
- Age (typically diagnosed in middle-aged people)
- Sex (women are at higher risk)
- Exposure to asbestos or silica
- Cigarette smoking
Gout is a metabolic, inflammatory type of arthritis that develops in people with high uric acid levels. Because your body produces too much uric acid or excretes too little, urate crystals form and accumulate in your joints. It causes inflammation, and gout attacks that are so painful, they can wake you up in the middle of the night. The pain, often felt in the big toe, causes your joint to feel like it is on fire, and may feel hot, swollen, and tender. Having gout increases your risk for more severe conditions like erosion and destruction of joints, advanced gout, and kidney stones.
Risk factors for gout include:
- A diet high in meat and seafood intake as well as sweetened beverages
- Being overweight
- Having high blood pressure and diabetes
- Having a family history of gout
- Being female in menopausal age
- Being male between ages 30 and 50
Lupus is an autoimmune disease affecting the joints, kidneys, skin, blood, and other organs. This condition is challenging to diagnose because it tends to mimic the symptoms of other ailments. However, in some cases of lupus, a distinct facial rash in the shape of butterfly wings appears across both cheeks.
The risk factors for this disease include:
- Sex (more common in women)
- Being between the ages of 15 to 45
- Being Hispanic, Asian-American, or African-American
Research shows there are people born with the predisposition of developing lupus when they come in contact with environmental triggers. These triggers include sunlight, infections, and certain medications, such as anti-seizure drugs and antibiotics.
Psoriasis is more commonly known as a skin disease, but over 30% of affected people also develop psoriatic arthritis (PsA). This autoimmune condition causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. If left untreated, PsA can result in irreparable damage to your joints and tissues. The primary risk factor for this condition is psoriasis, but genetics and age also play a role.
Some people with psoriatic arthritis also develop another form of arthritis known as arthritis mutilans. This is a severe form of the condition that destroys the small bones in the hands, causing permanent deformity and disability.
Arthritis Treatment in Arizona
Arthritis is a chronic condition that can negatively impact the way you live. Proper management of the different types of arthritis can go a long way in helping you have a healthy life despite your condition.
Dr. Robert E. Lending is board-certified in internal medicine and clinical lipidology, and he offers his medical services in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Lending specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of a variety of diseases, including arthritis. For inquiries, don’t hesitate to call us at (520) 795-4291. You may also use this secure online form to request an appointment.
We pride ourselves in offering concierge medicine services to our patients, promising excellent service and convenience while in our care. We look forward to providing you with the exceptional medical treatment you deserve.