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Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Understanding Different Types of Arthritis

Understanding the different types of arthritis Contrary to what many people may think, arthritis isn't a single condition, but a term used to describe various forms of joint pain that affect millions of people.

According to Arthritis Care that there are more than 200 types of arthritis, which affect a total of 10 million UK citizens. Most forms have different causes and impact certain areas of the body. 

For a better understanding of their risks of developing arthritis, in addition to taking note of the two most common types of the condition - osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis - it pays to be aware of other variants of the disease.

"There are more than 200 types of arthritis."

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Care say that each of the 200 types of arthritis are placed into one of three categories, inflammatory arthritis, noninflammatory arthritis and connective tissues disease. Osteoarthritis, the most prevalent form of the disease, is considered noninflammatory arthritis. Of the 10 million people impacted by arthritis, osteoarthritis affects 8 million, according to the NHS. Osteoarthritis occurs when the joints and cartilage are affected by the wear and tear of old age. It most frequently impacts the hands, knees and hips. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is considered inflammatory and is caused when the immune system overreacts and attacks healthy joints, explained the NHS. This results in swelling and pain in the hands, wrists, knees and feet. It is the second-most common type and impacts over 400,000 people. 

Ankylosing spondylitis and cervical spondylosis

Another common inflammatory condition is Ankylosing spondylitis, also referred to as AS, which affects more than 200,000 people in the UK. It is a chronic condition that causes major joints and muscles like the hip, spine, ribs and knees to become inflamed. The NHS noted that those with the condition can relieve pain with exercise, as symptoms often worsen with inactivity.

Seniors experiencing severe back and neck pain should see their doctors.Senior citizens experiencing severe back and neck pain should see their doctors.

Similar to osteoarthritis, cervical spondylosis results from the age-related wear and tear to the body. However, cervical spondylosis specifically affects the bones and tissues in the neck. The warning signs include pain radiating from the arms and the feeling of pins and needles in the limbs that often eventually leads to a complete loss of feeling.

While around 9 in 10 adults over 60 years old have some degree of the condition, many may not experience noticeable symptoms. Although not much is known about what causes it, doctors believe that a particular gene known as HLA-B27 may be responsible for the onset. If cervical spondylosis isn't relieved with regular exercise, you should see your doctor. 

Fibromyalgia, lupus and gout

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that results in discomfort all over the body and may include muscle stiffness, fatigue and painful headaches. Abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain are often thought to cause many cases of fibromyalgia. The condition is often triggered by emotional or stressful events like giving birth or experiencing the death of a loved one. Around 1 in 20 people are affected by some level of the disease.

"Lupus is one of the most complex forms of arthritis."

Lupus is one of the most complex forms of arthritis that affects many parts of the body and causes symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening. The immune system attacks organs, tissues and joints throughout the body. Symptoms include extreme tiredness, rashes around the wrists, hands and face, and joint swelling. The NHS say that 90 per cent of the 150,000 people with the condition in England and Wales are women.

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in some patients who have high levels of uric acid in their blood. Symptoms usually occur suddenly - in just 6 to 24 hours - and can be quite severe, resulting in painful redness and swelling. The joint of the big toe is commonly affected, but it can develop in any joint. Approximately 1 in 45 people in the UK have been diagnosed with gout. 

At Sunrise Senior Living, our assisted living care homes often provide gentle exercise sessions as part of a varied programme of regular events that can help to combat the effects of arthritis. Our full-time carers are also on hand to help people who have developed arthritis and need support. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today. 

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