Arthritis: It's Not Just an Old Person's Disease
October 12, 2022
Arthritis is a common chronic illness that affects people of all ages. Though often thought of as a disease that only affects older adults, arthritis can actually strike at any age. There are many different types of arthritis, each with its own set of symptoms. Some forms of arthritis can cause joint pain and stiffness, while others can lead to more serious problems like joint deformity. No matter what form it takes, arthritis is a serious illness that can greatly impact a person's quality of life.
Types of arthritis
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and they can be broadly classified into four main categories: inflammatory arthritis, degenerative arthritis, metabolic arthritis, and infectious arthritis.
Inflammatory arthritis is caused by an overactive immune system. Degenerative arthritis occurs when the cartilage between the joints breaks down. Metabolic arthritis results from disorders like gout or pseudogout. Infectious arthritis occurs when a virus or bacteria invades the joints.
Here are just a few examples of the different types of arthritis:
Spondylitis is a form of arthritis that affects the spine. Symptoms include back pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage in the joints breaks down, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Palindromic rheumatism is a rare form of arthritis that causes sudden attacks of joint pain and swelling. These attacks can last for days or weeks before disappearing completely.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the joints. Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that occurs in people with psoriasis. Symptoms include joint pain, inflammation, and fatigue.
Not all types of arthritis are the same; some cases are more severe than others. For example, inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis can lead to joint damage and deformity if left untreated. In contrast, degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis usually only cause mild pain and stiffness – but this can vary from person to person.
Crippling joint pain
One of the most common—and most debilitating—symptoms of arthritis is joint pain. For many people with arthritis, even simple tasks like opening a jar or buttoning a shirt can be agonizingly painful. The pain is often made worse by inflammation, which can cause the joints to swell and stiffen.
The fatigue that comes with arthritis can also make everyday tasks more difficult. Just getting out of bed in the morning can be a struggle when you're dealing with fatigue, joint pain, and stiffness. And once you're up and moving around, you may find yourself tiring quickly and needing to take frequent breaks.
The emotional toll of arthritis
Arthritis can be incredibly isolating. We often feel like we're the only ones dealing with this pain, that no one understands what we're going through. But the truth is, there are millions of people just like us all over the world, all dealing with their own unique #RheumaPainPoint.
Reach out to a friend, family member, or mental health professional if you need someone to talk to. Social media can also be an amazing tool in terms of finding support in the chronic illness community to find people who may relate to you on a deeper level, or have a similar diagnosis.
If you think you may have arthritis, it's important to see your doctor so they can diagnose your condition and develop a treatment plan. Your doctor will likely ask about your medical history as well as any symptoms you're experiencing—such as pain, stiffness, fatigue, etc. They may also order blood tests or X-rays to rule out other conditions or to get a better idea of the extent of the damage caused by your arthritis.
Arthritis is a common but often misunderstood disease that can cause a great deal of pain and suffering for those who have it. If you know someone who is dealing with arthritis–offer your help. I’m sure they will appreciate your gesture, and for us dealing with arthritis to feel more seen. So, on World Arthritis Day 2022, let's raise awareness and remind ourselves that we're not alone in this fight!