From the root word Arthro, meaning joint, and the suffix -itis, meaning inflammation, arthritis refers to inflammation in any joint. This inflammation comes with swelling, redness, and pain. The exact joints affected may vary from person to person, but the overall symptoms are generally the same. However, there are a couple of different types of arthritis that present in different ways. The two most common are discussed below. There are also a few key treatment opportunities to help those suffering from arthritis.
The more common of the two primary forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis is a disorder that causes degeneration of the joint. Typically, this is due to wear and tear on the cartilage in the joint. Eventually, the cartilage is so worn down but it is unable to cushion the movement of the joint. At this point, it is simply bone moving against bone when the joint is used. This is incredibly painful, both when the joint is being moved and when the joint is still. Typically, osteoarthritis affects older people or those who have undergone repetitive high impact movements. Even something as simple as walking can, over time, have a serious effect on the joint. As the cartilage is worn down, more nerves are exposed and aggravated as the bones grind together making movement uncomfortable.
As opposed to osteoarthritis, where the cartilage is worn down through youth and overtime, rheumatoid arthritis is actually an autoimmune disorder. In cases of rheumatoid arthritis, the body itself identifies the lining of the joint as a potential threat and works to attack it. This attack can cause pain, redness and swelling, and difficulty in moving the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis has a genetic component, meaning that a history of rheumatoid arthritis makes it more likely that you will suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age and can begin at any time.
Similarities and Differences in Types of Arthritis
These two forms of arthritis, while both causing inflammation of the joint, work in very different ways. Both forms of arthritis can also make it more difficult for people to get moving, especially in the morning. However, as rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, it tends to affect the body symmetrically. Osteoarthritis, being caused by repeated injury or fatigue, tends to have one side more affected than the other. In addition, rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect the smaller joints first. People with rheumatoid arthritis typically have swollen, painful joints in their fingers. People with art osteoarthritis tends to find the most affected joints are the larger joints, like the hips or the knees.
There are many treatment opportunities for arthritis, ranging from less intensive and invasive solutions to surgery. Some of the simplest things that you can do to treat both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis include making changes in one’s lifestyle. Cutting out fatty, greasy foods will help reduce inflammation in the entire body. Regular participation in exercise will increase the body’s response rate to inflammatory conditions. If these simple solutions don’t seem to help, over the counter pain relief medication may be able to help. In more severe cases, Dr. Grimm will be able to make a more specific recommendation with regard to specific medications, surgical procedures, or other treatments to help reduce the pain caused by arthritis.
Are you dealing with arthritis? Make an appointment with Dr. Grimm to go over treatment solutions that may help you.