Understanding the Different Types of Arthritis

Arthritis is a joint disease, and there are more than 100 types. Different types of arthritis can affect people differently. Joint pain and stiffness are the main symptoms. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have arthritis. 

Highly skilled internal medicine physician Prabhdeep Singh, MD, provides a full range of care to the El Centro, California community, including diagnosing and treating arthritic conditions. Here we discuss some of the most common types of arthritis.

What is arthritis?

The term arthritis describes the inflammation of one or more joints. So far, more than 100 types of arthritis have been identified to date. Most types of arthritis fall into two categories: degenerative arthritis and inflammatory arthritis. Let’s explore these two categories further. 

Degenerative arthritis

Commonly referred to as degenerative joint disease and wear and tear arthritis, degenerative arthritis is a non-inflammatory disease that causes the cartilage that cushions your joints to deteriorate. It’s often caused by wear on the joints over time. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and falls in this category. 

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis affects an estimated 27 million people in the United States. When the cartilage of your joints breakdown, your bones rub together, causing pain and other symptoms. If you have osteoarthritis, it’s typical to experience:

Osteoarthritis may affect one or two joints and often affects one side of the body. The hands, knees, hips, back, and low back are most commonly affected.

Older age, previous injury, family history, and obesity increase your risk of osteoarthritis.

While joint damage can’t be reversed, you can manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis and its impact on your life. Pain relievers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and corticosteroids can help reduce pain and stiffness.

Inflammatory arthritis

In inflammatory arthritis, an overactive immune system causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It typically affects many joints throughout the body at the same time. Inflammatory arthritis is much less common than degenerative arthritis.  

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common type of arthritis, and it falls in the inflammatory arthritis category. It affects 1.5 million adults and is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joint tissue. RA is more common in women than men.

RA typically affects the same joint on both sides of your body. As RA progresses, joint deformities may develop. People with RA may develop other autoimmune diseases and may have symptoms in other parts of the body, including the heart, lungs, and skin. If you have RA, it’s common to experience:

 RA causes chronic inflammation of the joints. Symptoms tend to begin slowly and may come and go over weeks or months. What’s more, symptoms can vary from day to day, and you may experience flare-ups where symptoms are worse, along with inactive periods where symptoms are mild or absent. We refer to this as remission.

RA patients under the care of Dr. Singh receive an individualized treatment plan designed to relieve pain, improve function, and help you maintain a good quality of life. Your treatment may include:

 With proper treatment, people with RA can minimize its impact on their lives.

If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis or are experiencing joint symptoms, visit Dr. Singh for an evaluation. To get started, contact our office to schedule a visit with Dr. Singh or book your request online today.

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