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Disease Awareness Page from R3 Stem Cell – Arthritis

Arthritis – Different Types

Arthritis is an informal ‘catch-all’ term used to refer to any condition caused by joint pain when joints are inflamed. There are over 100 different types of arthritis and people of all genders and ages are susceptible to the disease. It can either evolve gradually or have a sudden onset. Different forms of the disease differ in the seriousness of the condition and severity of the symptoms. In the most sensitive cases of arthritis, like those that affect the hands and feet, people may find themselves unable to do simple, everyday tasks including walking with ease or sitting up straight. If the disease is not treated and persists, joints may get twisted and become deformed. While there are numerous types of arthritis, some of the more commonly occurring are listed below.


What is it?

Often described as the ‘wear and tear’ disease, osteoarthritis is a degenerative form of arthritis that develops by the slow degradation of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the joints. Not just the cartilage, this disease eventually affects the whole joint through a gradual deterioration of the tissues attaching muscle to bone and causing inflammation in the lining of the joint. Although damage can occur in any joint, those in the hands, knees, spine, and hips are most frequently affected.

How common is it and who is at risk?

Osteoarthritis is by far, the most common type of arthritis and affects millions of people worldwide. Those at risk of developing osteoarthritis are people suffering from obesity, metabolic diseases like diabetes or those born with bone or cartilage deformities. Increased age and genetics also play a role. For reasons unknown, women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms for osteoarthritis are characterized by a slow and gradual deterioration in health. Most common symptoms are pain and stiffness in the affected joint as well as swelling and tenderness around the area. Bone spurs can also develop around the joint.

How is it diagnosed?

Initial diagnosis is made during a physical exam when the doctor checks for tenderness, redness or swelling around the joint in question. X rays can help reveal a deterioration in cartilage by showing a decrease in space between the bones in the joint. Blood and fluid tests can also help in ruling out other possibilities.

What are the treatment options available?

Osteoarthritis has no cure but pain relief medications, as well as certain antidepressants, are recommended to manage the pain and relieve stress. Additionally, physical therapy with a certified professional may also be recommended to enhance pain relief. If these don’t help, surgical procedures for joint replacement and bone realignment may then be considered.


    Arthritis can be classified into several types. Osteoarthritis is caused by the normal aging process of the body, or could be a result of injury. Rheumatoid arthritis, the most common type of arthritis, happens due to autoimmune problems, wherein the body’s own immune system attacks healthy cells of the body. Infectious arthritis is caused by an infection to the joint. Patients with psoriasis may be affected by Psoriatic arthritis. Finally, excessive uric acid in the body can cause Gout, an arthritis that often starts at the toe.


    What is it?

    Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory form of arthritis. This disease causes chronic inflammation of the joints and can lead to deterioration of a variety of systems in the body. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system attacks the lining of the membrane around the joints known as the synovium, which causes inflammation that thickens the synovium and ultimately deforms the cartilage and bone of the joints.

    How common is it and who is at risk?

    An estimated one percent of the entire world population suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. As the case with osteoarthritis, women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Other groups at risk are people middle-aged or older as well as those suffering from obesity. Rheumatoid arthritis risk is inheritable, which may be accelerated by smoking or unknown environmental exposures.

    What are the symptoms?

    Signs of the disease include swollen, tender joints that may feel stiff, particularly in the mornings. Fever, fatigue, and loss of activity are also common symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis tends to manifest initially in the smaller joints like those in the fingers and toes. Symptoms are exhibited in joints of other body parts as the disease spreads.

    How is it diagnosed?

    Diagnosis begins with a physical test checking for redness, warmth, and swelling as well as the state of reflexes in the affected joints. Multiple blood tests are conducted as people with rheumatoid arthritis usually have elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rates and C-reactive protein levels. Additionally, X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds are conducted to track the spread of the disease.

    What are the treatment options available?

    While no cure exists as of now, research has revealed that the symptoms may be controlled by early application of disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Steroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed depending on the case. Exercises to retain joint flexibility also provide some relief. If medications fail to slow down the disease, doctors may recommend surgery to repair or replace joints or swollen tendons.


    Arthritis Stem Cell Therapy

    What is it?

    Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is the most prevalent form of arthritis within kids. It is characterized by persistent pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. The disease occurs when the body’s own tissues are attacked by its cells. In some cases, it can create more serious complications such as growth problems and eye inflammation.

    How common is it and who is at risk?

    It is the most common form of arthritis diagnosed in children under the age of sixteen. Certain gene mutations can make the body more vulnerable to the external environment, which can result in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis occurring. Although reasons are unknown, girls are more susceptible to Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis than boys.

    What are the symptoms?

    Commonplace symptoms include joint pain or a limp caused by the pain, swelling of joints and stiffness of the joints that results in clumsiness by the child. In some cases, the disease can manifest as high fever and rashes.

    How is it diagnosed?

    Diagnosis for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is difficult as the pain and swelling in the joints could be attributed to a number of diseases. Quite a few blood tests are conducted to determine the status of markers like erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein levels, and quantity of anti-nuclear bodies, among others. However, many children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis show no abnormalities in these tests.

    What are the treatment options available?

    The treatment for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is geared towards making sure the child can maintain a regular level of physical activity. This can include different types of medication like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and swelling or disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs in more severe cases. Biologic agents may be recommended to help prevent joint damage. Physical therapy can also help the child maintain a full range of motion with or without joint supports or splints based on the situation. Surgery is the most extreme option used to improve the position of the affected joint.


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