Last updated:05-18-2010
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What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a common term for inflammation of the joints but may involve the rest of the skeleton and muscles. It is frequently called rheumatism. 

One distinguishes between forms, which has an inflammatory nature and the degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis, mainly due to wear on the cartilage in the joints.

Pain is the overriding symptom of arthritis. The different forms of arthritis are often also associated with incresing limitation of movement of the affected joint, but patients often find it easier to live with the reduced joint movement than with the pain. Despite having difficulty walking it also the level of pain that usually brings patients with arthrosis of the hip or knee to the surgeon for a joint replacement.

The most frequent forms of arthritis

Osteoarthritis (sometimes called osteoarthrosis)

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and most older people have arthritis to a greater or lesser degree. It is a degenerative form of arthritis that mainly attacks and destroys the cartilage in weight-bearing joints. It is a slowly progressive condition and the symptoms are pain and restricted movement. There are several degrees symptoms and not everyone have symptoms despite severe joint malformations.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, RA, is a chronic inflammatory (inflammation) arthritis. It occurs most often in women and usually start in 30-40 years of age. The symptoms are pain in many joints, possibly starting with low-grade fever, weight loss and general feeling of malaise. The inflammatory reaction in the joint eventually leads to deformities and malformation of the affected joints. A smaller proportion of RA patients have very large joint impairment and pain and thus a greater or lesser degree of disability.



Uric acid Arthritis (gouty Arthritis)

Uric acid is formed when the body digests proteins. Usually the uric acid is excreted in the urine, but in some people, it can accumulate and form crystals in one or more joints. This gives a massive inflammatory reaction in a joint often as an acute attack, which is very painful. The most commonly affected joint is the joint at the basis of the great toe.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Up to three percent of the population suffers from the skin disease psoriasis. About one out of ten of these people will experience psoriatic arthritis, which consists primarily of an inflammatory reaction in a few joints.


About rheumatic diseases and related articles:

Joint diseases:
  • Arthrosis (osteoarthritis).
  •  Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Uric acid Arthritis or gout (gouty Arthritis).
  • Psoriatic Arthritis.
  • Bechterews disease (Spondylitis Anchylopoietica).
  • Rheumatic fever.
  • Septic Arthritis.
  • Frozen shoulder.
  • Hallux valgus (skewed great toe).


Inflammatory muscle and connective tissue diseases:

  • Fibromyalgia.
  • SLE (Systemic lupus erythematosus).
  • Polymyositis and dermatomyositis.
  • Muscle Arthritis (polymyalgia rheumatica).
  • Scleroderma.
  • Sarcoidosis.


Related articles:

  • Rheumatology (arthritis diseases).
  • Living with arthritis - good advice.
  • New methods for treating cartilage damage, including osteoarthritis.
  • The replacement of damaged joints.
  • Stories from the lives of patients with arthritis.


Related articles:

Living with Arthritis - tips
Arthritis in children
Bechterews disease (Spondylitis Anchylopoietica, Morbus Bechterew)
Diocese Shoulder joint (Frozen shoulder, Periartrosis humeroscapularis)
Osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis, Artrose)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Septic arthritis
Skewed big toe (Hallux valgus)



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