Arthritis is a chronic condition that causes swelling and tenderness in one or more joints. Symptoms can increase with age and range from mild to severe. There are more than 100 types of arthritis — so symptoms can vary and may require different testing to receive an accurate diagnosis. AOC provides testing and treatment plans for the most common arthritis conditions.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common form of autoimmune arthritis — affecting more than 1.3 million Americans. Of these, about 75% are women. The condition often begins between the fourth and sixth decades of life, but RA can start at any age.
RA is a chronic (long-term) disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited motion and joint function. While RA can affect any joint, the small joints in the hands and feet tend to be impacted most often.
The outlook has greatly improved for many people with newly diagnosed RA. While rheumatoid arthritis remains a serious disease and can vary widely in symptoms and outcomes, treatment advances have made it possible to stop or at least slow the progression of joint damage.
The typical polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) symptoms include aching and stiffness on the upper arms, neck, lower back, and thighs. These symptoms develop quickly and are typically worse in the morning.
Polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms respond promptly to low doses of corticosteroids but may recur as the dose is lowered. PMR is a common cause of widespread aching and stiffness that affects adults over the age of 50. The average age when symptoms start is 70, so people who have PMR may be in their 80s or older.
Because PMR doesn’t typically cause swollen joints, it can be hard to recognize. It may occur with other health problems — such as giant cell arteritis. The disease affects women somewhat more often than men. It also impacts Caucasians more than other races, but all races can be diagnosed with the condition.
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammation that occurs in about 15% of patients who have psoriasis — a condition that results in a skin rash. This particular type of arthritis can affect any joint in the body. Symptoms may vary from person to person.
Research has shown that persistent inflammation from psoriatic arthritis can lead to joint damage. Fortunately, available treatments are effective in most cases. About 15% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. Sometimes, the condition can appear before the skin disorder.
Psoriatic arthritis usually appears in people between the ages of 30 to 50, but can begin as early as childhood. Men and women are equally at risk. Children with psoriatic arthritis are also at risk of developing uveitis — which is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.
Osteoarthritis (also known as OA) is a common joint disease that most often affects middle-age to elderly people. OA is a disease of the entire joint — involving the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments, and bone. It is characterized by the breakdown of the cartilage, bony changes of the joints, deterioration of tendons and ligaments, and various degrees of inflammation of the joint lining (known as the synovium).
This type of arthritis tends to occur in the hands, spine, hips, knees, and toes. According to the Johnson County Osteoarthritis Project, the lifetime risk of developing OA of the knee is about 46%, and the lifetime risk of developing OA of the hip is 25%.
OA is a top cause of disability in older individuals. That’s why the goal of osteoarthritis treatment is to reduce pain and improve function. There is no cure for the disease, but some treatments attempt to slow disease progression.
Spondyloarthritis (or spondyloarthropathy) is the name for a family of inflammatory rheumatic diseases that cause arthritis. It differs from other types of arthritis because it involves the sites where ligaments and tendons attach to bones — called entheses.
Symptoms are present in two main ways. The first is inflammation causing pain and stiffness, mostly along the spine. The second type is bone destruction causing deformities of the spine and poor function of the shoulders and hips. Both symptoms typically lead to pain in the lower back.
Spondyloarthritis can affect the hands and feet or arms and legs. Unlike other types of arthritis, this condition impacts people in their teens and 20s most. Males are more likely to develop the condition — especially if someone else in their immediate family has the disease.
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AOC is committed to educating our patients about their condition and any other rheumatic disorders that may be impacting your life. That’s why we provide a variety of resources to keep you informed. Still have questions? Our experts are available to answer them.