Do you have stiff, aching, and/or swollen joints? It could be arthritis.
If it is arthritis, the best-case scenario would be the non-inflammatory variety such as osteoarthritis where you feel pain and stiffness in a joint that typically improves with rest.
Inflammatory arthritis is another story though. This type of arthritis can be very painful and finding relief isn’t a simple matter of rest.
We’ll take a look at six different types of inflammatory arthritis.
- Rheumatoid (RA)
RA is the most common type of chronic inflammatory arthritis and is the result of the body’s immune system attacking healthy tissue. It’s believed to be genetic – although there are likely hormonal factors as well since women are more likely to develop it.
Many parts of the body can be affected by RA including (but not limited to) the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees, shoulders, and elbows. It may affect one or many joints simultaneously and presents with swelling, redness, and warmth.
Patients who struggle with the skin condition psoriasis can develop psoriatic arthritis. This occurs when the scaly and itchy rash spreads to the joints of the body.
Psoriatic arthritis often shows up in the small joints of the hands and feet. It can even cause the complete swelling of a toe or finger. This does mean, however, that it doesn’t affect larger joints. In fact, spinal inflammation can occur with psoriatic arthritis.
The body creates uric acid to assist in breaking down and digesting food. When there is an excess of it in the blood though, it can result in painful attacks on the joints called gout.
Gout typically shows up in the big toe first. From there, it may impact the foot, ankle, or knees. Though it’s not as common in the fingers, wrists, and elbows, it is possible.
Similar to RA, gout is genetically inherited. Yet, unlike with RA, it affects men more often than women.
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
What makes ankylosing spondylitis so frightening is how it primarily affects the spine, sternum, and large joints in the body. This can lead to extremely limited or even complete lack of flexibility in the spine.
The origin of its cause is unknown, and it tends to worsen after sleep or rest. If you suspect you have this condition, it’s important to learn more about it and see a doctor.
- Reactive Arthritis
Sometimes, inflammatory arthritis can occur after contracting an infection caused by certain bacteria. These are often related to food poisoning or sexually transmitted diseases.
Fortunately, reactive arthritis is fairly uncommon and can resolve completely within a year.
- Juvenile Inflammatory Arthritis (JIA)
Inflammatory arthritis is not a condition solely experienced by those in middle age or beyond. Just as in adults, JIA causes pain, swelling, and inflammation in the joints in children and adolescents. That inflammation may also affect the spine and ligaments.
It’s not easy to detect JIA in children and teens. What makes this particularly troublesome is the fact that young people are still growing and joint damage could inhibit this.
You Don’t Have to Suffer
If you suspect you have inflammatory arthritis, see your physician.
There are a number of chronic arthritis treatments doctors can recommend to their patients to help ease the pain.
And in the meantime, keep checking back with us for more informative articles on food, science, and nutrition.