Inflammatory arthritis is a term used to identify several types of this condition, all of which fall into the category of autoimmune diseases. If you suffer from any of these forms of arthritis, your immune system becomes weak because your body begins to fight against itself, making it difficult to ward off foreign pathogens. As a result, muscle, tissue and joint damage occurs and eventually results in stiff joints, surrounding pain and of course, inflammation.
Inflammatory, or systemic arthritis is the category used to describe ten different types of arthritis, though only three-rheumatoid, psoriatic and ankylosing spondylitis- are most common.
Rheumatoid arthritis has a direct affect on the joint, as it destroys the synovial, or lubricating fluid that normally allows movement without pain. It is also one type of arthritis most likely to affect other organs, such as the heart and lungs, as well as tendons and ligament.
Psoriatic arthritis is only a concern if you have psoriasis, another autoimmune condition that causes the skin to become dry, scaly and inflamed.
As for ankylosing spondylitis, this type of arthritis attacks the spine, which may result in spinal fusion or inflamed vertebrae.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, is most common in children under 16 years of age and can result in serious problems, such as stunted growth, inflammation of the eye and other organs throughout the body.
Mixed Connective Tissue Disease is a rare form of arthritis but includes a wide range of symptoms commonly present in people with scleroderma, lupus and polymyositis, making it difficult to diagnose this ailment.
Scleroderma is another rare form of inflammatory arthritis but it is quite progressive and has very distinct symptoms, such as tightening of connective tissue and the skin. If your condition is local, then it only affects your skin but if it is systemic, it attacks the internal organs.
Inflammation of organs and tissues is a cause for concern in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus but the distinct sign you have this condition is the red butterfly that appears from cheek to cheek.
Reactive arthritis results in swelling and pain of the joints when you have an infection at some other place in the body, such as the urinary tract or intestines.
Still’s Disease, the adult form of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, is rare but if you acquire it, you should be aware that it often leads to chronic arthritis, as well as other complications throughout the body.
The final type of inflammatory arthritis, Sjögren's Syndrome, attacks some of the body’s glands, thus resulting in dry mouth and eyes, as well as inflammation in the blood vessels and in the brain.
Although these seven types of inflammatory arthritis are less common, you should still be aware of them, especially if you have a family history of arthritis, a weak immune system or already have another type of arthritis.
Unlike most other types of arthritis, this type is systemic, meaning it has the ability to affect every system in your entire body, and you can develop it at any age, though it is predominant in individuals old enough to be in the midst of their careers.
Inflammatory arthritis also differs in that warmth, swelling and redness tend to appear at multiple joints, as it is common for this disease to damage more than one part of the body, including internal organs and the skin. Although this condition tends to be silent for so long, it is important to begin treatment as soon as symptoms start to appear and your primary care physician makes an accurate diagnosis.
If you display any of these symptoms or receive a diagnosis for one of these conditions, know you are not alone and if you experience any emotional changes, do not be afraid to ask for help.
Common Locations Often Impacted by Arthritic Inflammation
Knee Arthritis - starting a treatment regimen as soon as possible may keep you from having to undergo major surgery for joint replacement.
Hip Arthritis - Movement of the hip can be stiff, and the type of pain varies from sharp, stabbing pain to a dull ache.
Spinal Arthritis - Pain radiating from the back to the thighs, buttocks or pelvic areas or from the neck to the arms and shoulders.
Hand Arthritis - the infected area may feel warm to the touch, a symptom that most often stems from the inflammation, a defensive and healing process that brings blood to the site of injury.
Foot Arthritis - the inflammation is a warning that you need to rest and not apply pressure to your affected joint.