There are more than 115 different types of arthritis. Some are very serious and hold the potential for severe disability and deformity, if left untreated. Others may generate only mild discomfort, which may be totally controlled with relative ease.
Myths and misconceptions thrive everywhere. Despite the continued efforts of medical professionals, and The Arthritis Society, a large proportion of the population still believes that arthritis is nothing more that aches and pains, is never dangerous or fatal, is something only old people get , is caused by the weather, or is a disease for witch nothing can be done.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Arthritis is much more than aches or pains; it is a serious chronic illness, which usually lasts a lifetime and demands prompt and regular attention. Arthritis is not exclusive to the elderly; more than 30,000 Canadian children already have some form of it, and another 1,000,000 with the disease between 30 and 50 years of age. Climate and weather has little, if anything, to do with the disease other than a psychological impact on the course of the disease. And, arthritis is a disease for which something can be done.
As I have already stated, there are more than 115 different types of arthritis. I will include the six most common forms in this report.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in Canada. This type is also referred to as "degenerative joint disease", because it is a consequence of the wearing out of the cartilage that covers the end of bones, usually in the major weight bearing joints of the hips, knees, and spine. Joints in the fingers are occasionally involved as well.
Osteoarthritis usually occurs later in life and, more often than not, affects only a few joints. It may also occur in a single joint, which has been injured or has a structural defect. Nearly 90 percent of all Canadians over the age of 60 will have enough osteoarthritis to show in an x-ray, although the disease may not be causing them great difficulty. Some will, however, have severe problems.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (This is what I have)
Rheumatoid arthritis affects nearly 700,000 people in Canada (of course only 71,000 people under 16 in the world have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.(Just my luck!)). If left untreated, it is the type most likely to result in disability or deformity. This can, in most cases, be prevented.
Rheumatoid disease affects more women than men, and the average age of onset is usually between 20 and 40 years old. It involves a chronic inflammation in the lining of the joints and may strike anywhere in the body, although the hands, wrists, elbows, and knees are the most commonly affected.
Usually, the onset of this type of...