What Is Arthritis? Every so often we hear people complaining about arthritis and the pain that it brings to them, but what really does arthritis refer to? Well, arthritis is in fact not one type of disease but is instead a simplification of a broad range of different joint diseases and pain that occurs. Under the medical term arthritis, there are more than a hundred types of arthritis and conditions relating to joint pain. In addition, arthritis is not limited to the elderly and anyone of all age can have arthritis. The symptoms of arthritis vary, ranging from mild to severe and can be acute or chronic in nature. Today, we will be taking a look at four of the most common type of arthritis that can affect anyone. Rheumatoid Arthritis (Inflammatory Arthritis) Immune systems in our bodies have a certain level of inflammation within it in order to protect us from harmful diseases. But our bodies may incorrectly identify inflammation as something negative, resulting in the immune system attacking a particular problem area wrongly. In short, inflammatory arthritis is an example of this happening, with potential for the joints to be eroded, causing pain and joint damage. An example of inflammatory arthritis would be rheumatoid arthritis, which is one of the most common types of arthritis, affecting more than 1.3 million Americans. With an early diagnosis, rheumatoid arthritis can be treated, and patients usually enter remission after receiving medical treatment. Pain often ceases once the condition has been addressed, making this a fairly simple condition to treat. Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis) Degenerative arthritis occurs due to constant wear and tear in our bodies, and is probably the most common arthritis found in the elderly and active sportsmen. Cartilage, the soft jelly-like cushioning found between two bones, is a protective layer that lubricates and cushions the joints from friction. When the cartilage wears out over time, two ends of the bone would rub against each other causing inflammation and pain. If this continues over time, osteoarthritis occurs and the result could become a chronic condition. Under normal circumstances, osteoarthritis can be controlled through rest and supplementation but serious cases may require surgical intervention. Gout (Metabolic Arthritis) Metabolic arthritis such as gout occurs when the body cannot get rid of excess uric acid that is circulating around. The result is a build up of sharp pointy crystals around either end of a joint, that can bring about bouts of sudden, extreme pain. This is known as a gout attack and is often episodic in patients. The usual treatment of gout is aimed towards removing the crystals through medication but a proper revamp of one’s diet is encouraged in the chronic gout sufferer. Infectious Arthritis Finally, infectious arthritis is one of the less common types of arthritis occurs when the body is plagued by a virus or bacteria, resulting in inflammation of the joints. Examples of these infections include salmonella and shingles, which may bring about pain in the joints. Although full recovery from the infection often stops arthritis, cases of pain in the joints pursuing is not uncommon.