Over 100 types of arthritis have been identified, and the number is growing. Doctors are seeing variations, the types of arthritis range from those related to wear and tear of cartilage (such as osteoarthritis) to those associated with inflammation resulting from an overactive immune system (such as rheumatoid arthritis). As a whole, combined the many types of arthritis make up the most common chronic illness in the United States.
A joint disorder featuring inflammation, arthritis brings misery to many. A joint is an area of the body where two different bones meet. Joints function to move the body parts connected by its' bones. The definition of arthritis literally means inflammation of one or more joints. Joint pain frequently accompanies arthritis, and this joint pain is referred to as arthralgia. When the symptoms include four or more joints being involved, the arthritis is referred to as polyarthritis. In cases where two or three joints are involved, it is referred to as oligoarthritis. And in those conditions when only a single joint is involved, it is referred to as monoarthritis.
The alarming fact is that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 54.4 million adults in the United States have received a diagnosis of some form of arthritis. Among that number, 23.7 million people have their activity curtailed in some way by their condition. While seen in many cases in seniors arthritis is more common among adults aged 65 years or older, but it can affect people of all ages, including children. Not every type of this disease is equal, some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus (SLE), can affect multiple organs and cause widespread symptoms.
Arthritis can affect anyone at any time so if you are experiencing severe symptoms, you may choose to schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist first. You can always visit your regular doctor later and this may lead to a faster diagnosis and treatment. By extracting and analyzing inflammation levels in your blood and joint fluids your doctor can determine what kind of arthritis you have. There are blood tests that check for specific types of antibodies like anti-CCP (anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide). As well RF (rheumatoid factor), and ANA (antinuclear antibody) are also common diagnostic tests.
In most cases doctors commonly use imaging scans such as X-ray, MRI, and CT scans to produce an image of your bones and cartilage. In this way they can rule out other causes of your symptoms, such as bone spurs. Various well-known meds are usually very effective in helping to ease joint pain and other arthritis symptoms. This is due to the fact that most of them help reduce inflammation — the source of all that aching. There are other types of medications that may be used simply to ease joint pain, without doing much to combat inflammation.