Rheumatoid Arthritis Types

The list of types of arthritis or rheumatic diseases can contain more than 100 items. This article provides information on the main types of rheumatoid arthritis and the different symptoms associated with them. Read on, to know simple ways to lower the symptoms of this chronic disease.
Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, and septic arthritis are the main types of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease and the most common type of inflammatory arthritis. The immune system itself attacks various joints of the body. Arthritis is a chronic disease and it is not curable. To manage the disease, early aggressive treatment is required. RA in adults and RA in children can be the main two rheumatoid arthritis types. Both these types of RA lead to joint pain, joint deformity and disability. Various diagnostic tests, physical examination and x-rays help confirm the diagnosis of RA.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Adults

The symptoms can develop gradually or can be noticed suddenly. They are more severe than the symptoms of osteoarthritis. The symptoms are:
  • Stiffness of joints while waking up in the morning.
  • Redness, swelling or tenderness around the area of the affected joints.
  • Severe pain, stiffness, swelling in one or more joints of hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, feet, jaw and neck.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue, fever and development of rashes
  • Generally the pain occurs in combination like hands, knees and feet
  • Mostly, a symmetrical pattern of joint pain is noticed in arthritis. If the elbows of the left hand are inflamed, the elbows of the right hand will also be inflamed.
  • The swelling of joints is persistent and difficulty in simple daily actions like opening a jar, can be noticed.
  • After a period of time, more number of joints are affected.
  • The joints will feel warm on touching.
  • Morning stiffness can later last for hours or for most of the day.
  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Heart or lungs can be affected
  • Small lumps called rheumatoid nodules over joint areas like knuckles, elbows, or heels are developed, in case of 20% of people having rheumatoid arthritis.
  • At the end, damage done by the immune system spills over from the joints to other areas of the body.
One of the simplest way to control the progress of RA is to follow a properly designed diet that helps lower the symptoms of the disease. With proper medications, diet, massage and specific exercises, you can manage the disease.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Children

If a child of 16 years of age or less has inflamed and stiff joints for more than six weeks, the condition is called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, (JRA). It is listed as one of the rarest diseases. The symptoms are:
  • Redness around joint, swollen joint
  • Limping in the morning
  • Warmth around joint and soreness in the joints, due to inflammation
  • Usually no complaint of joint pain.
  • Stiffness in the neck or hips or other joints
  • Restricted movement of the affected joint
  • Any one or more joints can be affected due to inflammation.
  • There can be fever with rashes. Appearance and disappearance of rashes as well as fever.
  • Usually large joints become inflamed.
  • It can result in retarded bone growth.
The JRA has to be promptly treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, medication, physical therapy and exercise. Here are the types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis:
  • Pauciarticular: About 50% of children having JRA belong to this pauciarticular JRA type, meaning, four or fewer joints are affected.
  • Polyarticular : Nearly 30 % of the children diagnosed with JRA, can have polyarticular JRA, in which five or more joints are affected.
  • Systemic: About 20% of children with JRA have systemic JRA, meaning, along with joints, body systems are also affected. This type is characterized by joint swelling, fever and a light skin rash and it usually can affect internal organs such as the heart, liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. This is also called Still's disease.
Herbal Remedies For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Herbs can at least partially undo the damage caused by RA, to the joints. They can help reduce the joint inflammation. Arnica, often used in homeopathic treatment, can sooth soreness and inflammation, when applied externally. Celery, guggul (Commiphora mukul), green tea have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. They work as mild pain killers. Wild yam, containing steroidal saponins, is used to maintain the gap between the joints and to reduce the pain. Its anti-inflammatory properties help a lot. Turmeric, linseed, dry ginger, oregano, ginseng root, alfalfa, mustard, vitex negundo, tinospora cordifolia are the herbs that work great for rheumatoid arthritis.

Conscious efforts to alleviate pain, experienced in all types of rheumatoid arthritis can help you lead a happy and active life. With medication, exercise and diet, people diagnosed with arthritis can definitely avoid severe disability.
By Leena Palande
Published: 1/18/2010
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