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Most Common Types of Arthritis People Suffer From

HealthcareOnTime Team 2023-10-01 2023-10-02 3 Min Read
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  • Types of arthritis

    Did you know: 

    • Approximately 58.5 million US adults (23.7%) during 2016-2018 had symptoms of one of the key types of Arthritis, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, Lupus and Fibromyalgia. [1]
    • Approximately 78.4 million US adults are expected to have some form of Arthritis by 2040. [2]
    • There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis, but usually include joint pain and stiffness [3]

    Different Types of Arthritis You Need To Know

    Arthritis comprises a range of distinct conditions, each with its own set of features and treatments. The following section offers a glimpse into the primary types of arthritis, shedding light on their individual characteristics, how it affects your body, and its symptoms.


    What Is It

    Osteoarthritis is deemed as a degenerative joint disease characterised by the gradual wear and tear of your joint cartilage. This most common type of Arthritis predominantly affects the elderly but might impact you as a result of joint injuries or obesity. The cartilage, which acts as a cushion between the bones, tends to deteriorate over time, leading to pain and stiffness in your affected joints. With 32 million [4] US residents being affected by this type of arthritis, and even a staggering number of people across the globe, it is crucial to get an early diagnosis to improve the outlook and quality of life. 

    What Happens In It

    In osteoarthritis, the cartilage breakdown causes your bones to rub against each other, leading to pain and inflammation. Over time, there is a risk of the joint becoming enlarged and displaced. It commonly affects your knees, hips, fingers, and spine.

    What Are The Symptoms

    Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

    • Joint pain
    • Swelling
    • Reduced range of motion
    • Morning stiffness 
    • Tenderness and pain in one or more joints
    • Crunching and creaking noise during movements.
    •  Weakness in the muscles.

    The pain usually worsens with the level of your activity and improves with rest. In advanced stages, you may experience joint deformities and functional limitations.

    Causes and Risk Factors 

    • Obesity and overweight
    • Aging
    • Injury to joints
    • Excessive stress on joint area due to heavy jobs or sports activity.
    • Genetic defects and improper formation of cartilage.
    • Cigarette Smoking
    • Older women are more likely to develop Osteoarthritis than men.

    Classifying Osteoarthritis by Age and Symptoms

    • Primary Osteoarthritis: It usually develops in adult age groups. With aging, the protein content of cartilage decreases and the water content rises. Age related degeneration and damage to cartilage leads to pain and swelling. In severe cases, bone shows abnormal outgrowths in the form of spur. Rare cases of heredity Osteoarthritis occur due to defective collagen; an important component in synthesis of cartilage
    • Secondary Osteoarthritis: It is caused by multiple clinical conditions including obesity, injuries, fractures and inflammation resulting due to various other disorders and hormonal imbalance. obesity is the major key player for development of secondary Osteoarthritis. When joints bear a heavy body weight, they tend to wear faster. People with congenital abnormalities in joints are prone to early degeneration of cartilage and hence, develop osteoarthritis. Deformity in hip joints are the most common type of congenital abnormality.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

    What Is It

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, the lining of the membranes that surround the joints. Unlike osteoarthritis, this type of Arthritis can affect people of all ages and is not solely associated with ageing. The exact cause of RA is unknown, but genetic and environmental factors are deemed as some of the key causes and risk factors for this form of Arthritis.

    What Happens In It

    In RA, your synovium becomes inflamed, leading to the production of excess synovial fluid, which may make your joints swollen and painful. Over time, the inflammation carries the risk of damaging your cartilage and bone, potentially leading to joint deformities and loss of function.

    What Are The Symptoms

    Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

    • Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.
    • Fatigue and, at times, fever.
    • Affecting joints on both sides of the body (e.g., wrists, knees, fingers).
    • Loss of appetite leading to weight loss.
    • Malaise (general feeling of illness or discomfort).
    • Numbness, tingling, or a sense of burning in the hands and feet.
    • Difficulty in moving affected joints.
    • Development of Rheumatoid nodules, often near the elbows.
    • Inflammation in the lining around the heart.
    • Rare occurrence of eye inflammation, characterized by redness, swelling, and pain in less than 5% of cases.

    Your healthcare provider may recommend you to undergo a Rheumatoid Arthritis Test, Anti-cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Test, CBC Test, C-reactive protein test and an ESR test to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis. 

    Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Disease Progression

    • Complex Origins: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a well-known autoimmune condition, but the exact causes are still a subject of debate within the medical community.
    • Genetic Factors: RA is believed to develop due to intricate interactions between genetics and the environment. Certain genes related to the functioning of the immune system, such as the HLA-DRB1 gene from the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) family, are associated with its development.
    • Immune System Dysfunction: Mutant alleles of HLA-DRB1 code for citrullinated peptides, which are not recognized as 'self' by the immune system. As a result, the immune system generates antibodies against these peptides, known as anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACCP). This breakdown in immune tolerance leads to inflammation of the synovium and the destruction of joint matrix.
    • Destructive Inflammation: The severe inflammation associated with RA causes damage to the cartilage, leading to erosion. Over time, it can affect the bone underneath, making it thinner.
    • Comprehensive Joint Damage: RA doesn't stop at cartilage; it can also harm the joint's capsule, cavity, nearby ligaments, and the surrounding tissues. The damage in the joint is a gradual process and varies from person to person.
    • Progressive Consequences: As the damage progresses, it can result in joint deformities, further impacting a person's quality of life.

    Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)

    What Is It

    Juvenile arthritis, also known as childhood arthritis or paediatric rheumatic disease, refers to a group of arthritic conditions that affect children aged 16 or younger. It includes several subtypes, the most common of which is juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Up till late 1990s, the term Juvenile Arthritis was not used. The condition was instead called as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) or Juvenile Chronic Arthritis (JCA). Later, it was termed as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) to better distinguish it from Rheumatoid Arthritis of adults.

    The exact cause of juvenile arthritis is yet to be established and research-backed, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

    What Happens In It

    In juvenile arthritis, the immune system attacks your healthy joint tissues, leading to inflammation and pain. This can lead to joint damage, growth problems, and other complications if left untreated. Children with JIA can experience non inflammatory diseases such as chronic pain associated with injury and unknown causes that can also be hereditary in nature. 

    Some of the less common forms of this type of arthritis are:

    • Kawasaki disease 
    • Juvenile scleroderma 
    • Juvenile lupus 
    • Juvenile dermatomyositis 
    • Mixed connective tissue disorders 

    What Are The Symptoms

    Symptoms of juvenile arthritis include:

    • Joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and fever
    • Difficulties in performing daily activities
    • Growth abnormalities
    • Spiking fever
    • Pale pink colored rashes on chest and thighs
    • Inflammation in the lining of lungs and heart
    • Enlarged spleen and liver
    • Swelling of lymph nodes
    • Pain in muscles after strenuous activity
    • Early morning pain
    • Stiffness in joints and difficulty performing day-to-day functions
    • Weight loss
    • Finicky eating habits
    • Rashes on the skin

    Classifying Juvenile Arthritis by Clinical Manifestations, Therapy, and Causative Factors

    • Polyarticular JIA: Condition marked by arthritis of five or more joints during the first six months of disease.Children with this condition are further classified as RF factor positive and RF factor negative.
    • Enthesitis Related Arthritis(ERA): It is commonly found in male children of more than 8 years of age.Affected areas include sacroiliac joints, lower back, joints of legs, feet and ankle.Children with positive (HLA-B27) genetic marker tend to develop psoriasis, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, inflammation of pelvic joints, ankylosing spondylitis and arthritis.
    • Systemic onset JIA SOJIA) : It was first recognised by a British doctor, George F. Still in ill children during late 1800s and hence called as Still's disease.Exact cause of onset is unknown, but believed to be due to faulty immune response, stress or microbial infections.Recent research suggest that it is not an autoimmune disease but it is an auto-inflammatory condition.
    • Oligoarticular JIA: It is defined as an arthritic condition that affects four or fewer joints during first six months of disease which is seen in 50% to 60% of children and teenagers with JIA. The two types of oligoarticular arthritis are oligoarticular-persistent arthritis and oligoarticular-extended arthritis. It is more prevalent in the age group between 2-4 yeaes of age and affect girls more than the boys.Usually, it is associated with high risk of eye disease called uveitis 


    What Is It

    Spondyloarthropathies are a group of related inflammatory conditions that primarily affect your spine and large joints. Ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis are the key forms of spondyloarthropathies. These conditions often have a genetic component and are associated with the HLA-B27 gene [5]. Other forms of Spondyloarthropathies may include reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, enteropathic arthropathy, acute anterior uveitis and juvenile ankylosing spondylitis. 

    What Happens In It

    Spondyloarthropathies typically involve inflammation in your spinal and pelvic joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and potentially fusion of the vertebrae. Other joints, such as the hips, knees, and shoulders, may also be affected.

    What Are The Symptoms

    Symptoms of spondyloarthropathies may include lower back pain, morning stiffness, and pain in other affected joints. In the case of ankylosing spondylitis, fusion of the spine may lead to a stooped posture.


    What Is It

    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), commonly referred to as lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of your body, including the joints. The exact cause of lupus is not known, but it is thought to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

    What Happens In It

    In lupus, your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, including the joints, leading to inflammation and damage. The joints affected by lupus may be painful and swollen, resembling rheumatoid arthritis.

    What Are The Symptoms

    Symptoms of lupus-related arthritis include joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.You may also experience fatigue, skin rashes, and systemic symptoms affecting organs such as the kidneys and heart.

    Causes and Risk Factors 

    Symptoms of Lupus-Related Arthritis include:

    • Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
    • Fatigue
    • Skin rashes
    • Systemic symptoms affect organs like the kidneys and heart
    • Photosensitivity Chest pain when breathing deeply
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Butterfly-shaped rashes on the skin
    • Fever
    • Hair loss


    What Is It

    Gout It Is very painful and disabling form of arthritis, known since ancient times, It is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused due to deposition of monosodium urate (MSU), crystals and hyperuricemia in soft tissues and joints. . These crystals trigger intense, sudden episodes of pain and inflammation. Gout often affects the big toe but can also affect your other joints.

    Gout is most common among men than women, with women being more commonly affected after menopause. Clinically, men tends to have higher uric acid content than females.

    What Happens In It

    People with gout are marked by increased uric acid levels and is mostly due to kidney diseases or disorder of purine and pyrimidine metabolisms. Accumulation of the uric acid forms tiny grit like crystals which get collected in the joints or tissues. When these crystals start to accumulate in the joints it causes recurring attacks of joint inflammation. Uric acid is a breakdown product of purines, that are part of many foods we eat. Chronic gout can also lead to deposition of hard lumps of uric acid in and around the joints. It may cause joint destruction and may as well indicate decreased kidney function.These painful episodes, known as gout flares, can be triggered by factors like diet and alcohol consumption.

    What Are The Symptoms

    Symptoms of gout include:

    • Intense joint pain.
    • Swelling.
    • Redness.
    • Limited range of motion.
    • Frequent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis.
    • Intense pain at the first metatarsophalangeal joint (podagra) at the base of the big toe.
    • Severe pain with red, tender, and inflamed skin.
    • Fever, with or without chills.
    • Affects other joints like knees, wrists, fingers, ankles, elbows, and heels.
    • Deposition of urate crystals forming nodules called tophi on or under the skin surface (ears, knees, elbows, hands).

    Causes and Risk Factors 

    Buildup of uric acid crystals lead to gout, but not all people with raised blood levels of uric acid tend to develop gout. Uric acid is synthesised by breakdown of purines. It is a waste product and is eliminated out of the body through kidneys. When kidneys fail to filter uric acid, its level in blood increases, leading to deposition in tissues. Risk factors for gout includes family history of gout, alcohol, excess intake of purine rich diet such as red meat and sea food, obesity, Hypertension and lead toxicity.

    Classifying Gout Arthritis by Severity

    • Acute gout: It is a self limited episodic inflammatory condition. Intensity of pain is so high that, patients can not touch and perform routine tasks with affected limb. Factors that can trigger acute gout includes rise in uric acid, concentrations, infections, acidosis, acute illness, alcoholism, etc.
    • Chronic tophaceous gout: Patients with untreated hyperuricemia, develop this type of gout. Solid crystals of uric acid are deposited in a variety of regions including tendons, joints and helix of ear. Aggregates of uric acid crystals deposited in various regions are called as tophi. Hence, the term tophaceous gout was given. If untreated, this type of gout can result in permanent joint damage and impairment.
    • Intercritical gout: This is an asymptomatic condition that occurs before acute onset of gout. There is a silent increase in deposition of uric acid crystals.

    Infectious and Reactive Arthritis

    What Is It

    Infectious and reactive arthritis are forms of arthritis triggered by infections. Infectious arthritis is caused by an infection in the joint. Bacteria, viruses, or fungi can be the causative factor. They can enter the system, either through the bloodstream or an infection that can occur during surgical procedures and injuries. Arthritis caused by gonococcal infections is termed as Gonococcal arthritis. Other causative organisms include Haemophilus influenza, Staphylococcus, Mycobacteria and Streptococcus. Viruses which have been documented to cause arthritis include Hepatitis A, B, and C, Parvovirus B19, Herpes viruses, HIV, HTLV-1, Adenovirus, Coxsackie viruses, Mumps etc. Fungi that cause arthritis include Coccidiomyces, Histoplasma and Blastomyces.

    while reactive arthritis occurs as a reaction to infections in other parts of the body, often in the gastrointestinal or genitourinary system.

    What Happens In It

    In infectious arthritis, pathogens invade the joint, leading to inflammation and pain. Reactive arthritis is a result of the immune system's response to the infection, leading to joint symptoms.

    What Are The Symptoms

    Symptoms of infectious and reactive arthritis include:

    • Joint pain.
    • Swelling.
    • Redness.
    • Increased warmth in the joint due to heightened blood circulation to the infected area.
    • Fever and chills.
    • Fatigue and generalized weakness.

    Causes and Risk Factors 

    •  Recent arthroscopy of joints or other surgery.
    •  Intake of immunosuppressants.
    • Microbial infection in the blood.
    • Artificial joint implants.
    • Chronic illness such as Diabetes, Anemia, sickle cell diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
    • Use of intravenous drugs and injections.
    • People with immune deficiency disorders.
    • History of sexually transmitted disease.

    Types of Infectious Arthritis

    • Acute septic arthritis : Acute septic arthritis is mostly caused due to bacteria such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus.
    • Chronic septic arthritis : It occurs less commonly than that of acute arthritis. It is generally caused by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and Candida albicans.

    Psoriatic Arthritis

    What Is It

    Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects some individuals with psoriasis, a chronic skin condition. The exact cause is not known, but it involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

    What Happens In It

    In psoriatic arthritis, the immune system targets the joints, causing inflammation and potentially leading to joint damage. It can affect various parts of the body, including the fingers and toes.

    What Are The Symptoms

    Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

    • Joint pain
    • Swelling
    • Stiffness
    • Skin and Nail Changes
    • Noticeable swelling on toes and fingers
    • Pitted and separated nails from the nail bed

    Classifying Psoriatic Arthritis by Severity, Inflammation, and Affected Body Parts

    • Symmetric psoriatic arthritis: This arthritis affects body parts in a symmetrical pattern i.e. it affects similar sites on both the sides of the body.
    • Asymmetric psoriatic arthritis: When arthritis occurs in any of the joints in the body, it is called as asymmetric arthritis. Affected joints may be tender, warm, enlarged and red. While generally mild, some people with asymmetric arthritis may develop disabling symptoms.
    • Distal interphalangeal predominant (DIP): It majorly affects the small joints in the toes and fingers closest to the nail. This clinical condition is sometimes confused with bone spurs and osteoarthritis.
    • Spondylitis: It is an inflammation of the spinal column found in about 5% of psoriatic arthritis patients. Most of the individuals suffer from stiffness of the neck, pelvic area, lower back or spinal vertebrae. This makes motion difficult and painful.
    • Arthritis mutilans : This category includes < 5% of the affected type of total psoriatic conditions. Arthritis mutilans mostly affects joints of hands, feet, fingers and toes.

    Causes and Risk Factors 

    • 40% of the people with family history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis have chances of developing this condition.
    • It can arise from infections that activates immune system.
    • In cases of identical twins, if one develops Psoriatic Arthritis, there is a 7% risk factor for development of the condition in the other twin.

    Hemorrhagic Arthritis/ Hemarthrosis

    What Is It

    Hemorrhagic arthritis, characterized by joint bleeding, often stems from injuries that damage cartilage and the synovium membrane. Individuals with inherited bleeding disorders like hemophilia A, hemophilia B, and sickle cell disorders are more susceptible. Inflammation can also arise from autoimmune diseases, bone trauma, or infections.

    Types of Hemorrhagic Arthritis

    • Chronic hemarthrosis: It is a recurrent bleeding condition that can arise as a complication of an anticoagulant therapy or injury to a normal joint. Patients with hemophilia suffer from joint bleeding since childhood even during mild injuries. Commonly affected joints include ankles, elbows and knees.
    • Acute hemarthrosis: In acute hemarthrosis, the hemorrhage is not associated to previous inflammatory condition but rather to injury of healthy joints.

    What Are The Symptoms

    Hemarthrosis Symptoms include:

    •  Inflammation and swelling in joints due to repeated episodes of bleeding.
    •  Untreated condition can lead to destruction of joints and chronic pain.
    • Tingling sensation and warmth in the joint during initial stages of hemarthrosis.

    Causes and Risk Factors

    •  Injury/trauma to joints
    • Hemophilia in arthritic patient
    • Disorders related to blood clotting

    Arthritis Testing and Treatment Measures

    Arthritis testing involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, imaging studies (such as X-rays and MRIs), and laboratory tests, including blood tests for inflammation markers and specific antibodies. Early diagnosis is crucial for effective management.

    Treatment for arthritis varies depending on the type and severity. Common approaches include:

    • Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biologics can help manage symptoms and reduce inflammation.
    • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy and exercise programs can improve joint function and reduce pain.
    • Lifestyle Modifications: Weight management, joint protection techniques, and assistive devices may be recommended.
    • Surgery: In severe cases, joint replacement surgery may be necessary to alleviate pain and improve joint function.
    • Complementary Therapies: Complementary approaches such as acupuncture, dietary changes, and herbal supplements may offer relief.

    Read More: Foods To Eat and Avoid for Rheumatoid Arthritis you Didn't Know

    A Note From HealthcareOnTime

    Arthritis encompasses a wide range of conditions, each with its unique characteristics, causes, and treatment approaches. Understanding the different types of arthritis is essential for early diagnosis and effective management. If you suspect you have arthritis or are experiencing joint-related symptoms, consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and personalised treatment plan.

    Arthritis is a significant public health concern, affecting millions of individuals across the globe. Regular Arthritis testing measures, a healthy lifestyle, and early intervention can greatly improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis. Stay informed, stay active, and seek medical advice when needed to manage this challenging condition effectively.

    Arthritis is a challenging condition, but with the right knowledge and support, you can lead fulfilling lives and effectively manage their symptoms. Trust HealthcareOnTime to get Arthritis diagnosis, We offer two packages Arthritis Test - Basic and Arthritis Test - Advance done from the comfort of your home in a convenient, seamless and hassle-free manner. 


    The information listed here is strictly for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. Do consult your physician for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. It’s not advised to disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information listed here. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.


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