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    Top 3 Types of Arthritis

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    Did you know that there are more than 100 types of arthritis? Learn about the three most common ones, including what they are, what happens, and their symptoms.

    Osteoarthritis

    What it is: More people have this condition than any other form of arthritis. It's the "wear and tear" that happens when your joints are overused. It usually happens with age, but it can also come from joint injuries or obesity, which puts extra stress on your joints.

    Joints that bear weight -- such as your knees, hips, feet, and spine -- are the most common places it affects. It often comes on gradually over months or years. It makes the affected joint hurt. But you don’t feel sick or have the fatigue that comes with some other types of arthritis.

    What happens: You lose your body's shock absorber. Cartilage, the slippery material that covers the ends of bones, gradually breaks down.

    One example is what can happen to your knees when you're overweight. The extra pounds put more pressure on the cartilage as it gets squeezed between the bones. It gets damaged and wears away, so there isn't as much left to cushion the joint.

    The damaged cartilage makes movement painful. You may hear a grating sound when the roughened cartilage on the surface of the bones rubs together. You may get painful spurs or bumps on the end of the bones, especially on fingers and feet. The joint lining can get inflamed, but it's not common with osteoarthritis.

    Symptoms depend on which joint or joints are affected. You may have:

    • Deep, aching pain
    • Trouble dressing, combing hair, gripping things, bending over, squatting, or climbing stairs. depending on which joints are involved
    • Morning stiffness for less than an hour
    • Pain when walking
    • Stiffness after resting

    Your joint may be:

    • Warm to the touch
    • Swollen and harder to move
    • Unable to move through a full range of motion

     

    Rheumatoid Arthritis

    What it is: RA is an autoimmune disease. That means the immune system attacks parts of the body, especially the joints. That leads to inflammation, which can cause severe joint damage if you don't treat it. About 1 out of every 5 people who have rheumatoid arthritis get lumps on their skin called rheumatoid nodules. These often form over joint areas that receive pressure, such as over knuckles, elbows, or heels.

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