Inflammation is the common feature that clubs together all the different kinds of disorders under the umbrella titled as ‘Arthritis’. Other similarities include symptoms such as painful joints, stiffness etc. Beyond these similarities, arthritic varieties, which come to more than a hundred, differ from each other.
A joint is that part of the human body where two bones gets connected with each other. In between them there will be a slight gap, which is covered with a fragile membrane called as synovial membrane. Its secretion, the synovial fluid acts an effective lubricant that enables the smooth movement of bones. An elastic material called cartilage envelops the bones. Arthritis is associated with any damage to this joint system. Rheumatoid arthritis affects synovial membrane and osteoarthritis affects the cartilage.
In case of rheumatoid arthritis, synovial membrane is inflamed, as it becomes stiff and thick. Osteoarthritis causes joint pains as cartilage fails to cushion the bone contact. In both cases, arthritic pain occurs when one bone directly rubs with the other bone. Generally, both women and men are equally affected by this disorder. Majority of rheumatoid arthritis are diagnosed between the age group of thirty-five and fifty.
Though symptoms vary from person to person, there are certain general characteristics. A common arthritic symptom is morning stiffness. This affects the person’s mobility. Frequent joint locks and clicks when knee is bend is yet another symptom. In certain cases, redness is spotted in affected joints.
Along with arthritis, the person is likely to develop some other ailments such as fever and breathing troubles. Losing weight is also common among arthritic patients. However, a person showing any of these symptoms cannot be generalized as a case of arthritis as these signs may also indicate other illnesses. Only x-rays can provide the actual portrait of the joint condition. A loss of joint space is a clear case of arthritis. Blood test helps in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Certain arthritic kinds are analysed by examining fluid taken from the affected joint.