The term arthritis literally means joint inflammation or swelling. More than 100 different diseases fall under the general category of arthritis. Arthritis conditions affect the joints, the tissues surrounding the affected joints, and other connective tissues.
Common forms of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and periarthritis.
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis, occurs when the cartilage in the joints starts to break down. The cartilage serves as a cushion between bones, allowing the joint to move without pain. Therefore, patients with osteoarthritis experience pain and reduced mobility in their joints. Osteoarthritis may affect any joint in the body.
Osteoarthritis occurs most often in individuals older than 45 years, but it may develop at any age. Females are more likely to develop the disorder than males, suggesting that heredity may play a role in the development of the condition. Individuals who are obese, have weak muscles, have cartilage disorders, and/or have malformed joints have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body's immune system, which normally fights against disease and infection, attacks itself. Unlike osteoarthritis, which only affects the bones and cartilage, rheumatoid arthritis may also cause swelling in other areas of the body.
Women are two to three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men. Most cases of rheumatoid arthritis occur in individuals who are 20-50 years old. However, rheumatoid arthritis may also develop in young children and older adults. Although there is currently no cure for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, treatment can help reduce pain and help individuals remain active.
Periarthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease of a joint and the tissues surrounding it. The condition primarily affects patients who are 50 years old or older. Periarthritis most commonly affects the shoulder. Periarthritis of the shoulder is also called adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder. Patients typically receive cortisol injections, anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy. Without aggressive treatment, periarthritis of the shoulder can be permanent.
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