Arthritis belongs to a group of rheumatic diseases and conditions that are characterized by impaired function and inflammation of connecting structures of the body. Most often, rheumatic diseases affect the tendons, bones, joints, and muscles. Swelling and pain are the common symptoms associated with these diseases. Besides, there are also systemic effects that come with certain conditions.
Types of Arthritis
Doctors divide arthritis into three big groups.
Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. It affects knees, hips, neck, low back, and hands and occurs in both males and females after age 40. It commonly occurs when the cartilage in the joints disintegrates.
When the joints become inflamed and damaged, rheumatoid arthritis strikes. It commonly occurs in fingers and wrists. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that mostly affects females between ages 30 and 50. However, children and males can also develop this type of arthritis.
Juvenile arthritis affects children age 17 or younger. Doctors still don’t know what causes juvenile arthritis but data shows girls are affected more than boys. This type of arthritis appears in hips, wrists, knees, shoulders, or jaw. There are also different types of juvenile arthritis; the most common is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It has the same symptoms and effects of rheumatoid arthritis. Juvenile arthritis can affect the whole body or several joints.
There are also rare types of arthritis, such as:
- Infectious arthritis that is caused by the germ, such as virus or fungus;
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis that affects small children;
- Psoriatic arthritis that develops along with psoriasis;
- Reactive arthritis that appears as a reaction to an infection in the body;
- Enteropathic arthritis that affects the spine and appears along with inflammatory diseases.
These types of arthritis are well-known, though the list is not exhaustive. There are other types that are quite rare and doctors still don’t have a solution for most of them. Different arthritis types have similar symptoms and treatment is prescribed based on a specific condition.
Diagnosis of a certain type can be complicated – sometimes, arthritis may mimic other rheumatic diseases. That’s why you need a doctor to distinguish between your conditions and choose the most effective treatment.