The Different Types of Arthritis and How to Manage Them

54.4 million US adults have some form of arthritis, with 23.7 million of them limited in their daily lives by the condition.

Arthritis refers to over 200 conditions that affect joints and connective tissues. They cause debilitating symptoms that can be difficult to diagnose and relieve.

Please read our guide to learn a few of the most common types of arthritis and how to diagnose and manage them.

Types of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis. It affects over 30 million adults in the US alone.

Osteoarthritis breaks down cartilage, joint lining, ligaments, and bones. This leads to severe pain and stiffness and affects the hips, knees, spines, and other overused joints.

Gout affects 8.3 million Americans. It’s caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals, affects one joint at a time, and causes severe pain.

Fibromyalgia affects at least 5 million Americans. The cause is unknown, but its symptoms include widespread pain, fatigue, and sleep issues.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1.5 million Americans. It’s an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack normal tissue. This causes symptoms, including joint pain, inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and fatigue.

Other common types of arthritis include psoriatic arthritis, lupus, and juvenile arthritis.

Diagnosing Arthritis

The early signs of arthritis include pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty moving a specific joint. See a doctor if you notice these symptoms.

Doctors use laboratory and imaging tests to determine if you have arthritis and what type you’re suffering from. There are several types to be aware of.

Types of laboratory tests used to diagnose arthritis include:

  • Anticular Anitobody
  • Joint Aspiration or Arthrocentesis
  • Complement Tests
  • Complete Blood Count
  • C-reactive Protein
  • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate
  • Hematocrit
  • Rheumatoid Factor
  • Urinalysis or Uric Acid Test

Imaging tests include:

  • MRI
  • X-ray
  • Ultrasound
  • Arthroscopy

Determining which of the various types of arthritis you have can be difficult, but accurate tests should provide a complete diagnosis.

Managing Arthritis

Analgesics are pain relievers that work for almost all types of arthritis. They reduce pain but don’t help with inflammation.

Corticosteroids and NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce inflammation. DMARDs or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs can help with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by calming the immune system.

Physical activity is one effective method of managing all types of arthritis. It reduces the likelihood of obesity, a major risk factor. It also improves your range of movement, reduces your pain, and improves your mental health.

Warm water therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy involve more specialized movements. They provide relief for several types of arthritis.

Lifestyle factors can influence your experience with arthritis. Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol, and foods that increase inflammation.

The treatments that work best for you depend on which types of arthritis you suffer from. Check here to learn more about how to manage rheumatoid arthritis.

Where Can I Learn More?

There are over 200 types of arthritis and related conditions. The pain, inflammation, and other symptoms they cause can be debilitating.

Diagnosing which form of arthritis you suffer from can be difficult, but a doctor will use laboratory and imaging tests to get the most accurate results.

Once you receive a diagnosis, use methods like medication, physical therapy, and exercise to manage your symptoms. Living well with this debilitating condition is possible.

The more you know about a major condition, the better you can handle it. Please read the rest of our content to find all the information you need.

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