There are more than 100 types of arthritis, but the two main types of arthritis: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, both of which damage the joints and cause pain, but do so in different ways. Arthritis is the inflammation of joints that results in pain, stiffness, and limited function of the joints. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States and affects more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children. Diagnosis and treatment of arthritis are aimed at preserving joint function, reducing pain, and improving quality of life. If you have pain in your joints that limits your ability to do things, contact your internist to schedule an evaluation.
Sometimes called degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is a progressive form of arthritis that is caused by wear and tear on the body and joints, this kind of arthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints. It happens when the natural cushion between the joints, the cartilage, breaks down causing stiff, swollen, painful joints. Osteoarthritis is most common in those over the age of 60 but can occur in younger people who perform repetitive motions or have sustained joint injuries.
Osteoarthritis is a common disorder, but the specific cause is not well understood, beyond wear and tear of the joints. The cartilage wears out over time and suddenly your body lets you know it. The joints that are commonly affected are hips, knees, and hands. Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Joint pain that is worse with movement (although movement can help reduce pain and inflammation!)
- Stiffness when the joint is not used for a while — particularly on waking in the morning
- Bone grating — creaking or crunching feeling of bone rubbing on bone
- Knobby joints — Bouchard’s nodes and Heberden’s nodes cause the joints to appear knobby, particularly in hands
- Bone spurs — small bony extensions on edge of joints
You’ll be happy to hear that there’s a lot you can do to control your symptoms and stop the joint destruction. Come talk to us at Taylor Internal Medicine and we’ll help you form a plan to keep you moving smoothly and pain-free!
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an arthritis that is caused by an autoimmune condition where the body attacks its own tissues. In the case of RA, the body attacks the lining tissue of joints which causes joint inflammation and pain. RA typically appears in short bursts of symptoms, called flares. Flares may last for days or weeks. While there is no clear understanding of what causes rheumatoid arthritis, women are three times as likely to be diagnosed and smoking and periodontal disease are known risk factors for developing RA.
There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but medications are available that help stop the progression of the disease and help to ease some of the painful symptoms. Schedule an evaluation at Taylor Internal Medicine to find a solution for your RA today.