Five Common Types of Arthritis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 54 million American adults have arthritis. That’s nearly one in four adults. Not all of them have the same type of arthritis, however – in fact, there are more than 100 types of this chronic condition which affects the joints or tissues around the joints.

These are five of the most common types of arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis – This is the most common form of arthritis and is the result of wear and tear on your joints due to overuse, repetitive movements and past injuries. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in your body breaks down leading to less cushion for your joints and more bone-on-bone friction. Although it’s more common with age, being overweight or obese can also play a role in developing the condition since extra weight adds more stress on your joints. The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of mobility.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis – This condition causes inflammation of the joints as well as skin irritation. Onset is typically between ages 30 and 50. The skin disease (psoriasis) usually shows up first. Symptoms include swelling in the fingers and toes and pitted or discolored fingernails.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – This is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your joints. Symptoms include pain, stiffness and swelling,often in several joints in the body. Many people with the condition get rheumatoid nodules – small bumps that form over joint areas that receive pressure, such as the knuckles, elbows or heels.
  • Gout – This inflammatory form of arthritis typically affects only one joint, most often the toes, ankles or knees. It occurs when your body has a buildup of uric acid in your joints or tissues. Gout tends to appear in flare ups that last several days or weeks and then go away for months or even years before another episode. These flareups are characterized by intense pain, swelling, redness and heat in the affected area.
  • Fibromyalgia – This condition causes widespread pain throughout the body along with fatigue, headaches, sleep issues and emotional distress. People with fibromyalgia are also often more sensitive to pain than people without the condition. Risk factors include age as well as the presence of rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

If you suspect you have arthritis, talk to your personal doctor. He or she can review your medical history and evaluate your symptoms to determine the best next steps. To find a personal doctor near you, contact your health insurance provider.