Understanding the Common Types of Arthritis Arthritis literally means inflammation of the joints. It comes from two Greek words arthros meaning joints and it is meaning inflammation. It is typically characterized by pain as its major symptom. There are similar terms that share the same symptom as arthritis. Rheumatism for example is also known as arthritis and a less frequently used term - arthralgia only refers to joint pain. Long term pain in the joints is the major indication of the arthritis. Arthritis is a group of over a hundred diseases and every one of them has different causes, different signs and symptoms, and different treatments. Nonetheless, all diseases associated with arthritis have some things in common. What is typical about this group of disease is that they affect the joints. They probably cause movement loss and pain. They also present inflammation. The major kinds of arthritis are infectious arthritis, juvenile arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Infectious arthritis is caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. These organisms thrive in the body and live in the joints triggering the inflammatory response causing loss of function of the joint and fever. Juvenile arthritis on the other hand is general term used for any kind of arthritis that affects children in sixteen years old. Its cause is still unknown. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is the most common and it is associated with swollen toes, ankles, elbows, and shoulders and of course pain. Chills and intermittent fever, sometimes body rash are other symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Another form of arthritis is called gout. This is cause by uric acid build up in the joint. These form sharp crystal needlelike deposits which cause pain and hindrance to the affected part usually the wrists, knees, and even the bunion joint. These substances cause inflammation and sever pain. The causative factors of gout include diet, genetics, and certain drugs. Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis. This is usually characterized by cartilage breakdown. When this happens both bone ends rub together resulting to stiffness, pain, movement loss, and swelling. Weight bearing joints such as the hips, knees, spine, and ankles are where osteoarthritis is located. This can either be the result of obesity, heredity, injury and some other factors. Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common type of arthritis. With this type, the immune system is against the body leading to inflammation or swelling beginning in the synovium or joint lining. This then spreads to the cartilage then the bones. Most of the time, it affects similar joint on the opposite side of the body. Psoriatic arthritis is also another type of the disease. This happens with people who have a skin condition called psoriasis. This disorder sets in the toes and fingers and produce rough, scaly, and red patched on the elbow, knees, and neck. The last but not the least kind of arthritis is ankylosing spondylitis. This is a chronic spinal inflammation. In this condition the vertebrae grow together allowing the spine to be rigid. Heredity is a factor but its general cause is still unknown.
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