Different Types of Arthritis

There are many types of arthritis including Fibromyalgia and Gout, but the most common are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. They both mainly affect women over 45 although Rheumatoid Arthritis in particular can affect people of all ages.

Osteoarthritis

This roughens the smooth cartilage lining of the knees, hips or the small joints in the hands, making movement more difficult and leading to pain, stiffness, swelling and the formation of bony spurs.

Osteoarthritis cannot be cured but it can sometimes improve, especially if you lose weight and take regular gentle exercise. Avoid exercise that puts extra strain on the joints, like running or weight lifting.

Treatment may involve medication or special insoles that can relieve pressure on your joints as you walk. Assistive devices can also help if the arthritis is affecting your hands and a hot or cold pack can be very effective in relieving the pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is an autoimmune disease, where your immune system targets your joints by mistake, leading to pain and swelling. It most commonly affects the hands, feet and wrists.

Treatment will often involve medication and possibly physiotherapy to keep you mobile.

Fibromyalgia

This is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. It's thought to be caused by abnormal levels of chemicals in the brain but can be hard to diagnose. Sometimes it also causes extreme tiredness, increased sensitivity to pain and muscle stiffness.

Treatment usually includes a combination of medication and exercise programs.

Gout 

Gout is one type of arthritis that is more common in men. It causes sudden severe pain in a joint, usually a big toe but it can be in other joints, such as feet, hands, wrists, elbows or knees. The skin over the joint will probably be hot and swollen.

Gout seems run in families, but also to be caused by eating fatty foods or offal, drinking too much alcohol or having too much sugar in your diet.

Attacks normally last 5 to 7 days and will not normally cause lasting damage if treated immediately.

Treatment will normally include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids, and possibly also medication to lower the level of uric acid in your blood.


If you suspect you have any type of arthritis, speak to your GP as soon as you can. There may not be a cure, but early diagnosis and treatment can stop the disease causing more long-term damage.

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