Arthritis is characterized by inflammation of one or more joints. Symptoms include joint pain and stiffness, and these symptoms generally worsen as you age. There are several different types of arthritis, affecting people in different ways. The types of arthritis that our office has seen include: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and occurs when the cartilage on the ends of the bones wears down over time. The most commonly affected parts of the body are the hips, hands, neck, lower back and knees. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, loss of flexibility and bone spurs, among others. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, and people find that as their condition worsens, they are less able to perform activities that they used to be able to do with ease. The pain can often be unbearable and make it nearly impossible to sit, stand, or walk for any length of time.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. This means the immune system attacks its own tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis typically involves the small joints in your hands and feet, and affects the lining of your joints. Sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis typically experience swelling in the afflicted joints, along with stiffness, and pain. These symptoms can result in joint deformity. In addition to painful joints, rheumatoid arthritis can also cause fevers and fatigue. Repetitive movements can cause inflammation in the hands and wrists, making it difficult to do everyday activities. If the lower extremity joints are involved, one may have a very difficult time standing and walking, due to pain and swelling.
Psoriatic arthritis affects people who have psoriasis – a skin condition that exhibits itself with red, itchy patches. The main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are joint pain, swelling and stiffness. These symptoms can sometimes occur before the appearance of the skin condition. The symptoms can affect any part of your body – including your fingertips and spine. There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, so treatment tends to run toward management of the symptoms. People with psoriatic arthritis demonstrate the same disabling factors as people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. These symptoms can make it extremely difficult for people to function in the workplace on a consistent, reliable basis.
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