Arthritis refers to swelling or inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness that can worsen with age. Specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis, but usually include joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Let’s look at the common types of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis that frequently affects the hands, hips, and knees. We refer to it as “wear and tear” arthritis, since it occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time. When cartilage deteriorates, bones can rub together, causing pain, stiffness, swelling and other symptoms. It can also cause reduced function and disability; some people are no longer able to do daily tasks or work.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your body especially the joints, hands, wrists and knees that leads to inflammation and damage.

is a common form of inflammatory arthritis caused by a condition when there is too much uric acid in the body as uric acid crystals can build up in joints, fluids, and tissues within the body. It usually affects one joint at a time, often the big toe joint, but if it occurs multiple times, that can lead to gouty arthritis, which gets progressively worse.

is a condition with chronic pain that affects muscles, ligaments, and tendons throughout the body. Fibromyalgia also causes sleep disturbances, fatigue, and mood disorders.

Treatment options depend on the type and severity of arthritis but may include medications, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and in some cases, surgery. Management strategies aim to relieve symptoms, improve joint function, and slow the progression of the disease.

Leena Thomas, RPh