Arthritis isn’t just a pain in the backside. It’s a painful inflammation that surrounds the joints in your body. Many people suffer from osteoarthritis, the most common type, but there are more than 100 other types of arthritis.
The first certainty about arthritis is that it’s misunderstood. The term ‘arthritis’ actually refers to a collection of diseased, degenerated, or painfully inflamed joints. The second certainty is that it reduces your quality of life.
Before you can learn how to manage arthritis naturally, you’ll need to learn about the seven most common types that affect people globally.
Seven Main Arthritis Variants
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared the current statistics for Americans, and 54 million people suffer from some form of arthritis, while 24 million of these people have a lower quality of life.
Losing the ability to be active and fully functional is emotionally debilitating. Start understanding your variant of arthritis to manage it on your own terms.
Here are 7 of the most common types of arthritis.
1. Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)
This type of arthritis doubles as a tongue twister. Ankylosing spondylitis is a debilitating type of arthritis that affects the spine. It most commonly affects the lower spinal vertebrae that connect to the pelvic area.
Spondylitis means inflammation, and ankylosing means fused joints. The tissues between your joints wear down, and the bones fuse into an immovable joint. The bones involved are the vertebrae, and the tissues between them are known as discs.
Over time, the inflammation surrounding the discs will wear them to a non-functioning state, which causes a condition referred to as bamboo spine. Men are more likely to suffer from AS, and it’s also genetically inherited with the human leukocyte antigen B27 protein.
Having the B27 protein doesn’t guarantee that you’ll develop AS, and some patients can develop AS even though they don’t have the B27 genetic marker. AS can also be caused by autoimmune dysfunction.
Gout is more common than AS, and it normally affects one joint at a time, often starting in the big toe. It’s caused by inflammation, crystallization of high levels of uric acid, or both. Unfortunately, it’s also extremely painful.
Repeated flares are a sign that the condition isn’t simply temporary but, instead, has evolved into inflammatory gouty arthritis.
It’s quite intriguing to think how common gout is in patients when you consider that it’s one of the easiest to manage and can often be prevented. It’s best to make use of nutritional and lifestyle changes and leave medication as a last resort.
3. Juvenile Arthritis
Juvenile arthritis is a broad-spectrum term used to cover arthritis in children. Yes, even children can suffer from arthritis. It’s either genetic, the result of an injury, or inflammation from a continuing autoimmune phenomenon.
4. Osteoarthritis (OA)
Osteoarthritis is called the degenerative type because it often comes with age and the wear and tear you experience in life. Its main targets are the hips, knees, and hands. Risk factors for developing this type are overusing joints, sedentary behavior, old injuries (especially sports injuries), and obesity.
Age and gender also play a role, and genetics and ethnicity are also determining risk factors. Asian cultures have a lower risk of developing it. Fortunately, OA can be easily managed with a proactive lifestyle.
5. Psoriatic Arthritis
This type of arthritis typically affects people with skin conditions like psoriasis. People often don’t realize how an infection in the body or on the skin can impact their bone and tissue health.
6. Reactive Arthritis
This is another type of arthritis that develops after having an infection, most commonly food poisoning or sexually transmitted infections. It affects the feet, hips, toes, ankles, and knees.
7. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis is another common type. It normally develops when the body’s self-defense system becomes self-destructive, attacking the body instead of defending it.
RA is an autoimmune disorder that commonly affects the hands and feet, but it can also harm your organs. RA can be managed effectively with the same lifestyle changes as most arthritis variants.
Arthritis Variants FAQs
Here are some of the most common questions people ask about arthritis.
Can You Describe What Kind of Pain You Have With Arthritis?
It’s best described as a burning sensation in a joint, or as a dull ache. Often the pain is triggered by a lot of joint use, for example if you have been gardening or climbed a flight of stairs so put pressure on your knee joints.
The pain is often mild in the beginning stage of arthritis and is commonly confused with stiffness.
What Do You Mean By Stiffness?
Arthritis sufferers commonly mistake mild pain for stiffness, but stiffness defines a joint that loses mobility. You won’t be able to flex or use the joint as much anymore, and this will be uncomfortable.
What Are the Three Most Common Types of Arthritis?
According to the CDC, the most common type is osteoarthritis, closely followed by gout, and the third one would be rheumatoid arthritis.
Final Thoughts On The Types Of Arthritis
Knowing more about the type of arthritis you’re experiencing is the starting point, but you must also learn about what causes arthritis. Knowing this means you can learn to manage your condition much better.