Types of Arthritis
There are over 100 different types of rheumatic diseases. The most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is also called as degenerative joint disease; this is the most common type of arthritis, which occurs often in older people. This disease affects cartilage, the tissue that cushions and protects the ends of bones in a joint. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage starts to wear away over time. In extreme cases, the cartilage can completely wear away, leaving nothing to protect the bones in a joint, causing bone-on-bone contact. Bones may also bulge, or stick out at the end of a joint, called a bone spur.
Osteoarthritis causes joint pain and can limit a person’s normal range of motion (the ability to freely move and bend a joint). When severe, the shoulder joint may lose all movement, making a person disabled.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an auto-immune disease in which the body’s immune system (the body’s way of fighting infection) attacks healthy joints, tissues, and organs. Occurring most often in women of childbearing age (15-44), this disease inflames the lining (or synovium) of joints. It can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in joints. When severe, rheumatoid arthritis can deform, or change, a joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects mostly joints of the hands and feet and tends to be symmetrical. This means the disease affects the same joints on both sides of the body (both the hands and feet) at the same time and with the same symptoms. No other form of arthritis is symmetrical. About two to three times as many women as men have this disease.