Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. It can actually affect one joint or multiple joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Two of the most common types are Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
Cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue in your joints. Cartilage is a resilient and smooth elastic tissue, a rubber-like padding that covers and protects the end of long bones at the joints, and is a structural component of the rib cage, the ear, the nose, the bronchial tubes, the inter vertebral discs, and many other body components. It protects the joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created when you move and put stress on them. A reduction in the normal amount of this cartilage tissue cause some forms of arthritis. Normal wear and tear causes Osteoarthritis, one of the most common forms of arthritis. An infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue. Risk of developing OA may be higher if you have a family history of the disease.
Another common form of Arthritis is Rheumatoid arthritis, is an autoimmune disorder. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis. The immune system is the body’s natural self-defense system, and it protects us from different infection and illness. When someone has an auto-immune condition, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s healthy tissues, such as the joints, causing inflammation. Inflammation is normally an important tool in the immune system. It occurs when the body sends extra blood and fluid to an area to fight an infection. This is what is happening for example if you have a cut that gets infected, and the skin around it becomes swollen and a different color. These inflammatory attacks affect the synovium, a soft tissue in your joints that produces a fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints. Arthritis can make life tough by causing pain and making it harder to get about.
Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), are long-term conditions. Osteoarthritis is more common in women and usually affects people from the age of 45 onwards. The parts of the body most commonly affected are knee, hand, hip, finger tip and back.
Symptoms: - There are many forms of inflammatory arthritis; signs that are typical for most include:
o Pain, swelling and stiffness in one or multiple joints
o Morning stiffness in and around the affected joints lasting at least one hour
o Pain and stiffness that worsen with inactivity and improves with physical activity
o Reduce range of motion
o Sometime fever, weight loss and anemia
o A general feeling of being unwell
o Severe tiredness, also called fatigue
COMPLICATION ASSOCIATED WITH ARTHRITIS: -
o Osteoporosis: Rheumatoid arthritis itself, along with some other medication used for treating RA can increase your risk of osteoporosis — a condition that weakens your bones and makes them more prone to fracture.
o Carpal tunnel syndrome: Sometime, arthritis affects the wrist; the inflammation then can compress the nerve that serves most of your hand and fingers.
o Osteonecrosis: It is also known as Avascular Necrosis (AVN), it results from the death of the bone cells. If it affects the bone near joints, it might cause collapse of the joint surface.
o Heart problems: Arthritis can increase your risk of hardened and congested arteries, as well as inflammation of the sac that encloses your heart.
o Lung disease: People with arthritis have an increased risk of inflammation and scarring of the lung tissues, which can lead to progressive shortness of breath.
o Eye Complication: Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the eyes in several ways. Inflammation of the thin membrane that covers the white of your eye is common. The eyes get red and painful. Scleritis, an inflammation of the white of the eye, is more serious and can lead to vision loss.
o Effect on the Skin: Arthritis may develop lumps of tissue called rheumatoid nodules. They usually appear on skin, especially on the elbows, forearms, heels, or fingers. Sometime they appear suddenly or might grow slowly. Rheumatoid nodules can also form in other areas of the body like the lungs and heart. It pops up as a spot on the skin that looks like ulcers.