What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a general term meaning joint inflammation. The word arthritis is derived from Greek words ‘arthro’ meaning joint and ‘itis’ meaning inflammation. It can affect one or multiple joints. Arthritis is the major cause of disability worldwide. There are more than 100 various types of arthritis having different clinical presentations and treatment methods but the most common two types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies are produced by the body’s own immune system and attacks body tissues especially the synovium of the joints, a soft tissue that surrounds the joint and produces fluid to lubricate the joint. It affects more than one joint most of the time. In rheumatoid arthritis, there is destruction of both bone and cartilage of the joint thus causing joint distortion.
Whereas osteoarthritis occurs due to normal wear and tear of the joint affecting mostly a single joint, most commonly knee joint. In osteoarthritis, both joint destruction and joint regeneration occur at the same time, that’s why joints show bony spurs on X-RAY film.
The main difference between rheumatoid and osteoarthritis is that rheumatoid arthritis is accompanied by joint inflammation. Arthritis can occur at any age but mostly it affects people aged more than 65 years. In 2017, it was estimated that around 19 percent of men and 25 percent of women in the United States had doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That’s a lot of people!
When you develop joint pain, seeing a general physician would be a good choice. Seeing an orthopedic surgeon is an even better choice because they are well trained in orthopedic and joint concerns. He or she would do a general exam of your joint to see its mobility and fluid. Then they would refer you to a specialist if they think the disease is out of their discipline. Sometimes you would be referred to a rheumatologist. Or your orthopedic specialist will give you nonoperative and operative solutions for you to consider.
What a doctor sees in a patient are called signs and what the patient says and feels about his illness are called symptoms. We will discuss here the most common signs which a doctor sees in a patient of arthritis. Most common 4 signs of arthritis are discussed below
1. Joint Pain
Most common 1st sign is joint pain which can start anywhere in the body. The pain usually starts after some sort of more work like gardening or any strenuous or repetitive exercise.
2. Morning Stiffness
Morning stiffness is the feeling of joint stiffness when you first wake up and try to get out of bed. . Rheumatoid arthritis patients feel stiff joints in the morning and this stiffness vanishes away with the course of the day whereas in osteoarthritis soreness increases as the day passes.
3. Joint Redness
Arthritis causes joint redness. As we are comparing two types of arthritis, we will see redness in these two types. In rheumatoid arthritis, the joint becomes red whereas in osteoarthritis the joint doesn’t become red.
4. Joint Deformity
Actually the shape of the joint is changed in some types of arthritis due to extreme damage to the bone and cartilage of the joint. In rheumatoid arthritis, the joint becomes deformed and out of shape but osteoarthritis doesn’t affect the shape of the joint and the joint is not deformed.
Take good care of your joints so you have mobility, flexibility, and longevity!