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How Many Different Types Of Arthritis Are There? 

 July 26, 2023

By  Linda Rook

Pain in Fingers

Introduction.

Arthritis, a term derived from the Greek words "arthron" (joint) and "itis" (inflammation). Referred to a group of complex and debilitating conditions that attack the joints that affect millions of people worldwide.

However, there exists a lesser-known condition, where you may experience multiple types of arthritis at the same time. This is called "coexisting arthritis" or "polyarthritis."

The symptoms of this group of diseases, are inflammation and degeneration of joints. That leads to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

With over 100 different types of arthritis identified, the most common ones include osteoarthritis OA, rheumatoid arthritis RA.

Each type of arthritis have its unique challenges that can affect individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.

Despite the variety in the types of arthritis, they share common symptoms in the joints, such as pain, swelling, and stiffness.  Which can range from mild discomfort to severely devastating and impacting the quality of life for those affected.

Additionally, certain types of arthritis can also affect other organs such as your kidney or lungs. Making early diagnosis and effective management crucial to prevent further complications.

In this blog, I will delve into the complications of having multiple types of arthritis also how it can impact a person's life.

Multiple Types of Arthritis.

Multiple arthritis, also known as polyarthritis, refers to a medical condition that has inflammation and pain in multiple joints.

Unlike specific types of arthritis that affect only one or a few joints, polyarthritis involves five or more joints.

The condition can be caused by various underlying factors, that need early diagnosis and treatment.  These could be challenging for healthcare professionals.

In some cases, polyarthritis may develop as a secondary symptom of other systemic diseases. Such as viral infections or connective tissue disorders.

However, the widespread nature of the condition can lead to more severe and devastating conditions.

Diagnosing multiple arthritis requires a detailed medical history, physical examination, blood tests, and MRI or x-Ray.

The reason for all these tests will help to identify the specific type of arthritis.  Also help to diagnose the symptoms to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

Treatment for multiple arthritis often involves a combination of approaches. Which  include:

  • Medications to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Physical therapy to improve joint function and mobility.
  • And lifestyle changes to manage the condition effectively.

You may be prescribed disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), to slow down the progression of the disease and prevent joint damage.

You may also develop fatigue and emotional distress. Support from family, and friends can help you to managing the condition and maintaining a positive outlook.

Research into the causes and treatment of multiple arthritis continues to advance. Offering hope for more effective therapies and improved outcomes for those affected.

Early diagnosis and appropriate management are crucial in reducing joint damage and improving the overall well-being.

Skeleton of an elbow.

Understanding the Different Types of Arthritis.

Before discussing the possibility of coexisting arthritis, it is crucial to understand the different types of arthritis. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis OA and rheumatoid arthritis RA.

1.    Osteoarthritis (OA): This is the most common type of arthritis, often associated with age-related wear and tear.  But, in my case, it can develop if you have had a fall, I feel and my right knee cap went across a kerb, when I was going to work one icy day. The fall has left me with a right hip replacement and OA in my other hip, both knees, shoulder and elbow.

OA can affects the cartilage, which is the protective tissue that covers the ends of bones, leading to joint pain and stiffness.

2.    Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium.  The synovium is the lining of the membranes that surrounds the joints. It causes inflammation, leading to joint damage and pain.

3.    Coexisting arthritis: is a complex medical condition, that can affect people already struggling with one form of arthritis.

4. Understanding and managing the symptoms: this requires a comprehensive approach involving accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and lifestyle changes.

Pain in the sacroiliac joint.

With the right care and support, people with coexisting arthritis can improve their quality of life, and ease the impact of these challenging conditions.

If you suspect you have multiple types of arthritis, seek guidance from a qualified healthcare professional.  The earliest diagnosis can help with the joints and have early personalized treatment.

Coexisting Arthritis.

The term "coexisting arthritis" occures when two or more types of arthritis develops in a single person. For instance, someone might have both osteoarthritis in their knee and rheumatoid arthritis in their hand, or psoriatic arthritis along with ankylosing spondylitis.

Challenges of Coexisting Arthritis.

Dealing with multiple types of arthritis presents several challenges:

1.    Misdiagnosis: Identifying and diagnosing the symptoms from one type, may overshadow or mask those of another. This can delayed treatment.

2.    Treatment Complication: Each type of arthritis requires a tailored treatment approach. When dealing with multiple types, finding the right combination of medications, physical therapies, and lifestyle changes becomes more difficult.

3.    Disease Progression: The interaction between the different types, may worsen the joint.  The damage and disease may progress, leading to increased pain and disability.

4.    Emotional Impact: Managing one type of arthritis can be emotionally challenging; however, dealing with two at the same time can result in heightened stress, anxiety, and frustration.

Physio, Balancing Ball

5.   Medication Management: Some medications used to treat one type of arthritis might interact with those used for another. Therefore close monitoring and adjustments by medical professionals are necessary.

6.    Lifestyle Modifications: Engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and managing stress.  Can improve overall well-being and reduce the impact of arthritis symptoms.

Understanding The Different Types Of Arthritis.

Other types of arthritis that people can have together include:

Psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis:  

The Link to these two conditions is two chronic conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. They share distinct symptoms and appearance.

Understanding the link between psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis is crucial for early diagnosis and effective management. 

Psoriasis: A Skin Disorder with Systemic Implications.

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder by the rapid build-up of skin cells, resulting in thick, red, and scaly patches. These patches, known as plaques, can appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, lower back, and other areas of the body.

Psoriasis is not contagious, but it can have a significant impact on a person's physical and emotional well-being.

Rash on the arm or psoriasis.

The exact cause of psoriasis is still not fully understood, but it is believed to be linked to an overactive immune system. Genetics, environmental factors, and certain triggers can contribute to its development. Stress, infections, injuries to the skin, and certain medications are known triggers that can worsen psoriasis symptoms.

Psoriatic Arthritis PsA: symptoms when psoriasis develops in the joints.

When psoriasis affects the joints, it is then called Psoriatic arthritis.  The symptoms include an inflammatory, swelling and stiffness of the peripheral joints.  The peripheral joints include fingers, toes, knees and ankles and sometimes the spine.

It is estimated that up to 30% of people with psoriasis, will develop psoriatic arthritis at some point in their lives.

Like psoriasis, the exact cause of psoriatic arthritis remains unclear. It is believed to be an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues, leading to inflammation in the joints and skin. Genetic factors also play a role in the development of psoriatic arthritis.

Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis.

inflammation of the knee

The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can vary significantly from person to person. Some common signs include:

1.    Joint pain and swelling: PsA typically causes pain, tenderness, and swelling in the affected joints. The pain may range from mild to severe.

2.    Psoriatic skin lesions: People with psoriatic arthritis often have skin appearance like psoriasis. These plaques may appear before, at the same time, or after the joint symptoms.

3.    Stiffness and reduced range of motion: Psoriatic arthritis can lead to stiffness in the affected joints, making movement challenging.

4.    Nail changes: Psoriatic arthritis may cause pitting, discolouration, or separation of the nails from the nail bed.

5.    Fatigue: Chronic inflammation and pain can result in fatigue and a general feeling of malaise.

Diagnosis and Treatment.

Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis requires a thorough medical evaluation, including a review of symptoms, physical examination, and imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRI scans. There is no definitive test for PsA, which is why it is essential to consider a patient's medical history and symptoms.

Treatment for both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis aims to reduce the symptoms.  These could be inflammation, and slow the progression of the diseases.

Treatment options may include:

1.    Topical treatments: For mild psoriasis, topical creams and ointments can be applied directly to the affected skin to reduce inflammation and scale formation.

2.    Systemic medications: For more severe cases, oral or injection medications that target the immune system may be prescribed to manage both skin and joint symptoms.

3.    Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help improve joint function, reduce pain, and increase mobility.

4.    Lifestyle modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, stress management, and a balanced diet can complement medical treatment and improve overall well-being.

Ankylosing spondylitis.

Understanding the Chronic Inflammatory Arthritis Affecting the Spine.

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory arthritis that primarily affects the spine and sacroiliac joints, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

The condition falls under the category of seronegative Spondyloarthropathies.  They are a group of inflammatory disorders that share similar features and often have a genetic component. AS primarily affects the axial skeleton, leading to the fusion of the vertebrae and potential functional impairment if left untreated. 

Symptoms and Clinical Presentation.

The symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis can vary from person to person, and the condition often develops gradually over time. The most common signs and symptoms include:

1.    Back pain and stiffness: Persistent and progressive back pain and stiffness, typically worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity.

2.    Reduced spinal flexibility: As AS progresses, the inflammation and subsequent fusion of the spinal vertebrae can lead to reduced flexibility and limited range of motion in the back.

The Spine

3.    Pain and inflammation in other joints: Besides the spine, AS can affect other joints, such as the hips, knees, shoulders, and ankles, causing pain and swelling.

4.    Fatigue: Chronic inflammation and pain can lead to fatigue and a general feeling of illness.

5.    Eye inflammation: Some people with ankylosing spondylitis may develop uveitis. Uveitis is an inflammation of the eye that can cause redness, pain, and sensitivity to light.

Causes and Risk Factors.

The precise cause of AS is not known, but genetics and environmental factors play a part.  The HLA-B27 gene is strongly associated with the development of AS, but not everyone with this gene will develop the condition. Other genetic and environmental factors can trigger the onset of ankylosing spondylitis in vulnerable individuals.

The condition most commonly appears in late adolescence or early adulthood, affecting men more frequently than women. Additionally, a family history of ankylosing spondylitis or other related conditions, like psoriasis or inflammatory bowel disease IBD, increases the risk of developing AS.

Diagnosis and Treatment.

Diagnosing ankylosing spondylitis can be challenging, as the symptoms may resemble those of other conditions affecting the spine as well as the joints. A thorough medical history, physical examination, and imaging studies, such as X-rays and MRI scans, are used to establish a diagnosis.

Early diagnosis is crucial for effective management and to prevent long-term complications.

Medication

There is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, but various treatments aim to control symptoms, reduce inflammation, and improve overall quality of life. Treatment options may include:

1.    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These medications are commonly used to reduce pain and inflammation associated with AS.

2.    Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): In more severe cases, DMARDs may be prescribed to slow the progression of the disease and reduce joint damage.

3.    Biologic therapies: Biologic medications that target specific components of the immune system have shown promising results in managing AS.

4.    Physical therapy and exercise: Regular exercise and physical therapy can help improve flexibility, maintain proper posture, and strengthen the muscles around the affected joints.

5.    Pain management: In some cases, pain management techniques such as heat and cold therapy or injections may be recommended.

Gout.

Arthritis and Gout: A Comparison of Two Common Joint Disorders.

Yes! Gout is a type of arthritis. Both, arthritis and gout are joint disorders that can cause pain, inflammation, and reduced mobility. 

Gout is a unique form of inflammatory arthritis caused by the build-up of uric acid crystals in the joints. It is considered to have a sudden also severe bouts of joint pain, most commonly affecting the big toe.

Uric acid is a waste product formed when the body breaks down purines, which are naturally occurring substances found in certain foods and tissues.

When uric acid levels become too high in the blood (a condition known as hyperuricemia), the excess uric acid can crystallize and deposit in joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues. These crystals trigger an immune response, leading to intense inflammation and excruciating pain, often referred to as a "gout attack" or "flare-up."

Differences in Causes and Risk Factors.

Arthritis and gout have different underlying causes and the risk factors of each are:

Arthritis: The causes of different types of arthritis can vary. Osteoarthritis is typically linked to age, joint overuse, and joint injury, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder with genetic and environmental factors playing a role.

Gout: Gout is primarily caused by an accumulation of uric acid, which can be influenced by dietary choices, genetics, obesity, certain medications, and underlying health conditions.

Gout of the foot

Symptoms and Clinical Presentation.

While both arthritis and gout involve joint inflammation, their symptoms can differ:

Arthritis: Common symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion. These symptoms may be chronic and can worsen over time.

Gout: Gout often presents as sudden, intense pain in the affected joint, usually the big toe. The affected joint may become red, swollen, and extremely tender during a gout attack.

Treatment Approaches.

The treatment for arthritis and gout varies based on the specific type and severity of the condition:

Arthritis: Treatment for arthritis aims to manage pain, reduce inflammation, and improve joint function. This can involve a combination of medications, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and, in some cases, surgery.

Gout: Acute gout attacks are typically treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids to reduce pain and inflammation.

Long-term management involves medications to lower uric acid levels, lifestyle changes (such as dietary modifications and weight management), and avoiding triggers that may lead to flare-ups.

Lupus.

This is an autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation in the joints.

Lupus and arthritis are two distinct yet consistent medical conditions that involve inflammation and affect the joints and other body systems. Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is an autoimmune disease that can cause a wide range of symptoms and affect various organs.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues in various parts of the body. This chronic and complex condition can affect multiple organs, including the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, and blood vessels.

The exact cause of lupus remains unclear, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors. Certain triggers, such as stress, infections, sunlight, and certain medications, may exacerbate symptoms in susceptible individuals.

Symptoms of Lupus

Lupus can present differently in different individuals, and its symptoms can range from mild to severe. Common signs of lupus include:

  • Fatigue: Chronic fatigue is a prevalent symptom, often due to inflammation and the body's immune response.
  • Skin rashes: Many people with lupus develop a  distinct  butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and nose. Other skin disorders such as sensitivity to sunlight, may also occur.
  • Joint pain and arthritis: Joint pain and inflammation, resembling symptoms of arthritis, can affect multiple joints in lupus patients.
  • Fever: Unexplained fever may occur during disease flares.
  • Kidney involvement: Lupus can cause kidney damage, leading to protein or blood in the urine.
  • Raynaud's phenomenon: Fingers and toes may turn white or blue in response to cold or stress due to restricted blood flow.
Taking Blood

Joint Involvement and Diagnosis

Arthritis is one of the most common symptoms of lupus, affecting approximately 90% of people with the condition.

 Lupus-related arthritis typically involves symmetric joint inflammation, meaning it affects joints on both sides of the body. It tends to be milder than other forms of inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosing lupus-associated arthritis involves a thorough medical history, physical examination, blood tests, and imaging studies.

A diagnosis of lupus itself may be based on the presence of specific clinical criteria and the results of blood tests that detect antibodies commonly found in lupus.

Treatment Approaches.

The management of lupus and lupus-associated arthritis aims to control inflammation, reduce symptoms, and prevent disease flares.

Treatment may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): 
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): 
  • Corticosteroids: 
  • Immunosuppressants:

Lifestyle modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management can complement medical treatment and improve overall well-being.

If you think you are developing multiple types of arthritis.

If you think you may have multiple types of arthritis, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor will likely do a physical exam and order tests, such as blood tests and X-rays, to help determine which types of arthritis you have.

Once you have been diagnosed with multiple types of arthritis, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. This may include medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.

With the right treatment, you can manage multiple types of arthritis and live a full and active life.

Here are some tips for managing multiple types of arthritis:

  • Stay active.
  • Lose weight. 
  • Manage stress.
  • Get enough sleep. 
  • Eat a healthy diet.

If you have been diagnosed with multiple types of arthritis, talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you. With the right treatment, you can manage your arthritis and live a full and active life.

Going early to bed will help with your symptoms.

Conclusion.

In conclusion, the realm of multiple types of arthritis encompasses a diverse and intricate landscape of joint-related diseases, affecting millions of people globally.

While each type of arthritis has its unique characteristics, triggers, and consequences, they all share the common burden of joint inflammation, pain, and reduced mobility. These symptoms can significantly impact an individual's daily life, leading to challenges in performing even the simplest tasks.

Recognizing the specific features of each type of arthritis is crucial for accurate diagnosis and the formulation of appropriate treatment plans. Early detection and intervention can make a significant difference in managing the disease progression and improving the overall well-being of affected individuals.

Various types of arthritis can lead to coexisting arthritis where you could have more than one type at the same time. Which will make accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment difficult for specialists.  

I hope this article has helped you. Please subscribe to my website, and I will keep you updated on new blogs. Also, if you need to know anything about arthritis, please go to my contact page and leave a message, and I will get back to you.

In the meantime, if this post is informative, I’d be very grateful if you’d help your friends or family if they have a similar condition to tell them. So please share it on Twitter or Facebook or send them an email.

I am not a medical professional, and this blog is for information only. If you have any worries you should consult your doctor.

I hope this blog has helped.

https://foodwitharthitis.com

https://foodwitharthitis.com

Linda Rook

Linda is now retired and has suffered from Osteoarthritis for about 40+ years.  She struggled with her weight until she found the correct one that also helped with her arthritic pain.  Linda was in terrible pain until the physician thought her right hip needed replacement. 


Now Linda has an artificial right hip, which has left her with the left leg shorter than the right.  Therefore, her spine is now wonky, and has arthritis of the lower back, also it seems to be going all over the body, her pain is now in the knees, elbow, wrist, fingers and both hips.


Linda now spends her days writing information to help others with the same conditions, so they do not suffer like Linda.


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