Facts About Arthritis

What is Arthritis
November 8, 2020
How often should workers get a medical assessment done?
November 8, 2020

Facts About Arthritis

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis simply means an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or many joints. There are more than 150 types of arthritis, with different treatment methods and causes.

Types of Arthritis 

There are about 200 types of arthritis or musculoskeletal disorders. These types of arthritis are split into seven groups, which are:

  • Connective tissue disease 
  • Infectious arthritis 
  • Metabolic arthritis 
  • Back pain 
  • Degenerative or mechanical arthritis 
  • Inflammatory arthritis 
  • Soft tissue musculoskeletal pain 

Connective tissue disease (CTD)

Connective tissue disease, join together, or separate other body tissues and organs. They include cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. 

Connective tissue disease involves joint pain and inflammation. The inflammation may also occur in other tissues, including, the lungs, muscles, skin, and kidneys. It can result in various symptoms in addition to painful joints, and it may require medical consultations of different specialists. 

Examples of connective tissue disease (CTD)

  • Systemic sclerosis or scleroderma 
  • Lupus or SLE
  • Dermatomyositis

Infectious arthritis 

A bacterium, fungus or virus that enters a joint can sometimes cause inflammation. Organisms that can affect joints include:

Gonorrhoea and chlamydial, which are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Shigella and Salmonella, which is spread through food poisoning or contamination 

Hepatitis C, a blood-to-blood infection that can be spread through transfusion or shared needles 

A joint infection can often be treated with antibiotics or other antimicrobial medications. However, if the arthritis becomes chronic, joint damage may be irreversible if the infection has persisted for a very long time. 

Metabolic arthritis 

When the human body breaks down substances called purines, a chemical called uric acid is created. Purines are found in several foods and human cells. 

Most uric acid dissolves in the blood and travels to the kidneys., From there, it is expelled from the body as urine. Some people have high levels of uric acid because their body cannot clear the uric acid quickly enough or they naturally produce more than they need.

When uric acid builds up and accumulates in some people, it forms needle-like crystals in the joint, which results in sudden spikes of a gout attack or joint pain. Gout can either come and go or become chronic if uric acid levels do not reduce. It usually affects a single joint or a small number of joints, such as hands and the big toe

Back Pain 

Back pain can arise from the bones, ligaments, discs, nerves, muscles or joints. It may also result from problems inside the body. It can also be an outgrowth of referred pain, for example, when a condition in the body leads to pain in the neck. 

Back pain can be specifically caused by osteoarthritis, which is often called spondylosis when it occurs in the spine. If the cause of back pain cannot be identified by a doctor, it is described as non-specific pain. 

Degenerative or mechanical arthritis 

Degenerative or mechanical arthritis is a group of conditions that involve damage to the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones. The main function of the slippery, smooth cartilage is to help the joints glide and move freely. Degenerative arthritis causes the cartilage to become rougher and thinner. 

There is usually a loss of cartilage and changes in the joint function. To compensate for that, the body begins to remodel the bones in an attempt to restore stability. This can lead to undesirable bony growths, called osteoarthritis. 

Inflammatory arthritis 

Inflammation tends to occur as a defence against viruses and bacteria or as a response to injuries such as burns. However, with inflammatory arthritis, inflammation occurs in the body for no reason. Inflammatory arthritis can damage several joints and the underlying bones. 

Examples of inflammatory arthritis include:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis 
  • Reactive arthritis 
  • Psoriasis or arthritis associated with colitis 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Soft tissue musculoskeletal pain

This type of arthritis is felt in the tissues other than the joints and bones. The pain caused by this arthritis often affects a part of the body due to injury or overuse, such as tennis elbow, and results from soft tissues or the muscles supporting the joints. 

Cause of arthritis 

There is no specific cause of all the types of arthritis. The cause or causes vary according to the type of arthritis. 

The possible causes of arthritis may include:

  • Inheritance, such as in osteoarthritis 
  • Immune system dysfunction, such as in RA and SLE
  • Injury, leading to degenerative arthritis 
  • Infection, such as in the arthritis of Lyme disease 
  • Abnormal metabolism, leading to gout and pseudogout

Treatment of arthritis 

Treatment of arthritis might involve:

  • Patient education and support 
  • Surgery, including joint replacement 
  • Splints, or joint assistive aids
  • Medications etc 

Natural remedies 


While there is no specific diet that treats arthritis, some types of food may help reduce inflammation. 

In Newtown, Inner East and North Sydney, the following foods mentioned below provide people with many nutrients that are good for join health:

  • Whole grains 
  • Fruits and vegetables 
  • Fish
  • Olive oil 
  • Nuts and seeds 
  • Beans 

Foods to avoid 

There are some foods that people like university students, retirees, athletes etc may want to avoid.

Nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, which contains a chemical called solanine that some studies have linked with joint pain. Some people have reported a relief in arthritis symptoms when avoiding nightshade vegetables. 

Symptoms of arthritis 

The early signs of arthritis that appear and how they appear vary according to the type of arthritis. 

Warning signs of arthritis include:

  • Pain
  • Difficulty moving a joint 
  • Stiffness 
  • Swelling 

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