I'll bet you don't know that there are over 100 different forms of arthritis; the most common being, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia, in that order. In the course of this text, we will take a brief look at some of the many other forms of arthritis that exist.
Psoriatic arthritis is a seriously inflammatory and often associated with Psoriasis. Cervical arthritis affects the upper back and causes pain in the neck and arms. Gout is a form of arthritis that usually presents in the great toe but can extend to the ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbow. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis affects children and the symptoms are most pronounced upon awakening in the morning or after a nap. Symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness. On the plus side, many children seem to outgrow it. Infectious arthritis, as the name implies, is caused by bacterial and viral infections. Symptoms consist of joint swelling, soreness and fever. Then there is Anklyosing spondylitis, which affects the spine causing lower back pain and stiffness and is characterized by sleeplessness, fatigue, weight loss and fever. Polymyalgia rheumatica most common in those over 50 causes severe stiffness and aching in the neck, shoulders, and hips. This form of arthritis is very treatable but an accurate diagnosis is difficult because so many other conditions look like it. Lyme disease is an infectious disease transmitted by a deer tick bite. Early diagnosis and antibiotic therapy is usually effective Polymyositis is inflammatory form of muscle disease is often associated with arthritis. It is very dangerous condition because it is systemic, affecting all muscles including the heart. Very aggressive therapy is warranted. Systemic lupus erythematosus is most common in woman. The rate is 10 to 1 in favor of women contracting this life-threatening form of arthritis. Reactive arthritis sees onset after infections, with young adults being the most common victims. Appropriate medical treatment is very effective.
Frightening information, I think you’ll agree. So what can we do? Early diagnosis is our best defense. Many forms of arthritis are curable and a high percentage of those types that cannot be cured, can, at least, be controlled.
The most common complaint of those suffering with arthritis is pain. The management of arthritis pain is a multi-billion dollar business and as the US population ages, the costs will continue to rise. In the United States alone, arthritis results in roughly $50 billion in lost wages and $50 billion in health care costs. Arthritis results in more than 1 million hospitalizations annually and fully 45 million visits to outpatient health care centers and clinics.
Some types of arthritis can be prevented, such as gout and secondary osteoarthritis. These can be prevented, to a great extent, through proper diet and exercise. The principal cause of these types of arthritis is our old enemy, obesity.
The US is facing the perfect storm in terms of new arthritis cases. We have an aging population coupled with a rising incidence of obesity. This combination is sure to foment an unprecedented number of arthritis sufferers in the years ahead.