Arthritis defines a group of inflammatory joint diseases of various genesis. The disease invades one joint or multiple. It can also affect synovial membranes, capsule, cartilage and other joint elements.
To determine the character of the arthritis a complex examination has to be performed. Thus, a laboratory test of synovial fluid and blood has to be carried out. The patient has to take ultrasound and thermography tests, as well as X-ray. Arthritis is most commonly seen in people aged 45 or older. However, it may develop in people of other age groups, including children and teenagers.
In most cases, arthritis is a result of inflammatory processes in the body, that can lead to joints pain, swelling and stiffness, mainly at nighttime and regardless of movements. The symptoms of arthritis can develop over times (chronic forms), or they can appear suddenly and sharply (acute forms). The patient who suffers from arthritis can experience fever, loss of appetite and general fatigue. Arthritis is always accompanied by joint pain, but the joint pain is not always a sure sign of arthritis.
By now, not all grounds for arthritis have been discovered. As a rule, different types of arthritis are caused by different factors. Arthritis is subdivided into inflammatory and degenerative types. The inflammatory type is caused by various reasons.
Most common types are:
- Bacterial, viral or fungal infections (infectious arthritis);
- Disorders in metabolism (gout);
- Immune system disturbances, which can also have an infectious-allergic nature (rheumatoid arthritis);
- Disturbances in the hormone system;
- Diseases of the nervous system (rheumatoid arthritis);
- Systematic malnutrition and lack of vitamins and micro elements (dystrophic arthritis).
The damage to the cartilage may cause traumatic arthritis and osteoarthrosis, that refer to the generative type of arthritis.
Each type of arthritis has its own cause, that’s why each specific case has its own treatment method. Symptoms of arthritis may also differ depending on the form of the disease and its type, but joint pain is the inevitable companion of any arthritis. The most common symptoms of arthritis include: strong pain in the affected joint, that increases at night, swelling, skin redness in the affected joint area, high temperature in the affected joint area (up to 40 C), lower range of motion, stiffness, weakness in the body and weight loss.
If the treatment for arthritis is neglected some complications may occur: sepsis (inflammation of the synovial joint bag) or arthrosis — the destruction and/or deformation of the joint. The consequences of some arthritis types may lead to the damage of the internal organs, like kidneys, bladder, liver and heart.