Why Are There So Many Different Types Of Arthritis, And Does It Matter Which One I Have?

Dr. Ali Askari answers the question: 'Different Types Of Arthritis?'

ByAli Askari, M.D., Director, Division of Rheumatology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center
November 21, 2008, 10:18 AM

— -- Question: Why are there so many different types of arthritis, and does it matter which one I have?

Answer: Well, it matters what kind of arthritis you have, because now we have specific treatments for each kind of arthritis. So if we consider what is the most common arthritis, it's degenerative arthritis, which is wear and tear in the cartilage of the joints, number one in terms of the number of people who have it.

And then there's rheumatoid arthritis in terms of the seriousness of the involvement of the joints with inflammation. And the whole body gets involved.

And then we have systemic lupus, in which most parts of the body could involve, for example the kidneys, the heart, the lungs -- they can be involved in the process of systemic lupus. And we have gout, for example, which is due to increased uric acid in the body and inflammation of the big toes and then other joints.

So we have rare arthritic problems such as vasculitis, inflammation of the vessels of the body. We have conditions like what is call Behcet's syndrome, in which the mouth gets a lot of sores and the eyes are inflamed and the joints hurt.

So we have so many typical and atypical kinds of arthritis that a rheumatologist can really diagnose.

Next: What Is Osteoarthritis, And What Are The Common Causes Of Osteoarthritis Pain?

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