Over 46 million people suffer from arthritis in the United States. Arthritis is a condition that causes pain, inflammation, and swelling in the joints, and it can become debilitating in severe cases. There are over 100 types of arthritis, but the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
At an estimated 27 million adults with the condition, osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis, is the most common type arthritis. It is caused by the breakdown of cartilage over time. Cartilage serves a cushion between the joints, and, as it disappears, repetitive movement of the joints will become painful. Since osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition, it most commonly occurs in those over the age of 50. Sufferers of osteoarthritis frequently experience pain in their knees, hips, spine, and hands.
Though the word arthritis literally means joint inflammation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use the term arthritis to include more than 100 rheumatic conditions, of which fibromyalgia is one of the more common. [#]An estimated 5.0 million adults suffer from fibromyalgia [+], which is a chronic disorder characterized by fatigue, widespread pain, and diffuse tenderness. The condition is much more prevalent in women than in men, most often occurs during middle-age, and increases in prevalence with age. [$]
At estimated 3.0 million adults with the condition, gout is another common form of arthritis. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid within the body, which leads to swollen joints. This type of arthritis may be acute or chronic. Acute gout will clear up in a few weeks, and chronic gout will be recurring over a long period of time. Sufferers of gout often only experience pain in one joint, but the level of pain can be severe. Gout occurs more commonly in men than in women. It is sometimes linked to a high level of alcohol consumption or a poor diet, but there are also genetic factors that may predispose you to gout.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory type of arthritis that afflicts an estimated 1.5 million adults. It occurs when the body’s immune system malfunctions and mistakenly attacks the joints, causing swelling and pain. After a period of years, the joints will sustain permanent damage. The joint most often affected are the knees, hands, and wrists. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the whole body, making you tired and feverish. This type of arthritis occurs more commonly in women than in men, and sufferers are generally over the age of 40.
Psoriatic arthritis is a common type of arthritis among psoriasis patients . Up to thirty percent of psoriasis sufferers will develop psoriatic arthritis. In 60-80% of the cases, psoriasis precedes the onset of arthritis within ten years, but for 15-20%, the arthritis appears first. Occasionally they appear simultaneously. [+] It most commonly occurs in adults ages 30-50, but it is also possible for children to develop psoriatic arthritis. Sufferers of psoriatic arthritis can experience swelling in any of their joints. [-]
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Prevalence of Specific Types of Arthritis
Arthritis & Rheumatism; Lawrence, Reva
Estimates of the Prevalence of Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Conditions in the United States
2008; Volume: 58; No: 1; Pages: 26-35
[#] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
University of Maryland Medical Center
[+]Medscape Reference, Anwar Al Hammadi, MD, FRCPC
[-] National Psoriasis Foundation