Over 350 million people in the world are affected by Arthritis.
According to the CDC 53% of all adults in the United States, over 54 million people, have arthritis. In the United Kingdom around 10 million people are affected. There are 6 million Canadians living with Arthritis and 3.9 million people in Australia have this chronic disease.
“It’s not just arthritis.” Arthritis is a serious, chronic and life-changing disease that deserves greater attention.Canadian Arthritis Society
There are over 100 types of arthritis along with sub types and related diseases. Here are a few of the more common forms.
Osteoarthritis (OA): Is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down and eventually the joint is rubbing bone on bone becoming very painful. OA usually effects the joints in the knees, hips, hands and spine. It’s not an autoimmune disease.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Is an inflammatory disease that can affect multiple joints in the body. RA is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system—which normally functions to protect us against infections—mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints. RA usually attacks the small joints on the fingers, toes, wrists, ankles, but also will attack any joints on both sides of the body symmetrically. The inflammation can also effect the lungs, heart, kidneys, eyes, and skin.
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS): Is an inflammatory arthritis that effects the spine and the joints that attach the pelvis to the base of spine. Over time it gradually fuses the small bones in the vertebrae (spine). It is an autoimmune disease. In this case the immune system attacks the joints and bones in the lower back.
Juvenile Arthritis (JA): Is more common than people think. Approximately 3 in 1000 children have childhood arthritis. When you hear the term “Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis” Idiopathic means of unknown cause. It’s also hard to diagnose because often it’s hard for a child to communicate exactly how they’re feeling, where it hurts or if there is something wrong.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): Often called Lupus, is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. As a result of SLE, the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, the nervous system and almost any other organ can be affected. (90% of people diagnosed with SLE are women.) Lupus has many of the same symptoms as other inflammatory diseases and fibromyalgia so it often gets misdiagnosed since the symptoms are different daily or weekly or none at all. There is a distinct symptom to Lupus and that is a butterfly rash over the cheeks and nose which happens in roughly 30% to 40% of those diagnosed.
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA): Is an autoimmune type of inflammatory arthritis that causes joint inflammation and occurs with the skin autoimmune condition psoriasis. About 10-30% of people with psoriasis will get PsA. The symptoms often resemble those of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Fibromyalgia (FM): I was surprised when I saw this listed as a type of arthritis. FM is a medical condition that is believed to affect the central nervous system. The most common symptoms of FM is widespread or diffuse pain and debilitating fatigue. People with FM may also experience other symptoms, such as sleep difficulties, restless leg syndrome, cognitive dysfunction, lack of concentration and memory, mood swings, gastrointestinal problems and have a heightened sensitivity to touch and pressure. FM will not cause permanent damage to muscles, bones or joints. What it does have in common with arthritis is that it can cause severe pain and fatigue therefore having an impact on a person’s daily life. Although painful, FM does not lead to permanent joint damage or deformity.
People with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) can also have fibromyalgia FM.
I’m lucky enough to have the big 3. Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. Right now, I’m trying to do all I can to keep my knee from going under the knife. My rheumatologist said, just say the word and he’ll call the surgeon. I keep saying no I’m not ready, however, it’s getting harder to walk or sleep without pain. I know I’m stubborn.
Until Next Time!