Of more than 100 different kinds of arthritis, these are the most common:
called degenerative arthritis. Occurs when the cushioning cartilage in
a joint breaks down. Commonly affects feet, knees, hips, and fingers.
Affects 16 million Americans, mostly 45 and older. About half of those
65 and older have this form.
system attacks the lining, or synovial membrane, of the joints. Joint
damage can become severe and deforming. Involves the whole body, and
may also cause fatigue, weight loss and anaemia, and affect the lungs,
heart and eyes. Affects about 2.1 million Americans, three times more
women than men.
sudden, severe attacks, usually in the big toe, but any joint can be
affected. A metabolic disorder in which uric acid builds up in the
blood and crystals form in joints and other places. Drugs and attention
to diet can control gout. Affects about 1 million Americans (70 to 80
percent men), with first attack starting between 40 and 50 years of
age. (See "Getting to Know Gout," FDA Consumer, March 1995.)
chronic inflammatory disease of the spine that can result in fused
vertebrae and rigid spine. Often milder and harder to diagnose in
women. Most people with the disease also have a genetic marker known as
HLA-B27. Affects about 318,000 Americans, usually men between the ages
of 16 and 35.
most common form is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis diagnosis,
treatment, and disease characteristics are different in children and
adults. Some children recover completely; others remain affected
throughout their lives. Affects about 200,000 Americans.
and other joint tissues become inflamed, and, like rheumatoid
arthritis, it can affect the whole body. Affects about 5 percent of
people with psoriasis, a chronic skin disease. Likely to affect fingers
or spine. Symptoms are mild in most people but can be quite severe.
Affects about 160,000 Americans.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
skin, joints, muscles, and sometimes internal organs. Symptoms usually
appear in women of childbearing age but can occur in anyone at any age.
Also called lupus or SLE, it can be mild or life threatening. Affects
at least 131,000 Americans, nine to ten times as many women as men.
can develop as a result of an infection. For example, bacteria that
cause gonorrhoea or Lyme disease can cause arthritis. Infectious
arthritis can cause serious damage, but usually clears up completely
with antibiotics. Scleroderma is a systemic disease that involves the
skin, but may include problems with blood vessels, joints, and internal
organs. Fibromyalgia syndrome is a soft-tissue rheumatism that doesn't
lead to joint deformity, but affects an estimated 5 million Americans,