Did you know there is more than one type of arthritis? In fact, there are more than 100 types of arthritis. It's a condition that affects more than 46 million U.S. adults -- a number that's expected to increase to 67 million adults by the year 2030.
The false notion that all arthritis is alike has led people to try treatments that have little effect on their arthritis symptoms. Since each type of arthritis is different, each type calls for a different approach to treatment. That means an accurate diagnosis is crucial for anyone who has arthritis. With the proper diagnosis, you'll know what causes the pain. Then, you can be sure you're taking the proper steps to relieve the pain and continue to be active.
There are two major types of arthritis -- osteoarthritis, which is the "wear and tear" arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory type of arthritis that happens when the body's immune system does not work properly.
Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis. It affects about 33 million Americans and is the most common chronic joint condition.
Osteoarthritis results from overuse of joints but most commonly it is an aging phenomenon. It can be the consequence of demanding sports where joints may be injured or obesity, which places increased load on weight bearing joints, If you were an athlete or dancer in high school or college, you may be wondering why your knee or hip aches when you climb out of bed in the morning. Ask your doctor about osteoarthritis. It can strike earlier in life with athletes or those who suffered an injury in young adulthood. Osteoarthritis in the hands is frequently inherited and often happens in middle-aged women.
Osteoarthritis is most common in joints that bear weight -- such as the knees, hips, feet, and spine. It often comes on gradually over months or even years. Except for the pain in the affected joint, you usually do not feel sick, and there is no unusual fatigue or tiredness as there is with some other types of arthritis.