Arthritis is a disease involving inflammatory changes in one or more joints of the human body. The arthritis group includes a very large number of diseases, the common between them is the tendency to develop pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and damage to joint function.
Arthritis literally means inflammation of the joint. Inflammation of some or any of the joints in the human body occurs in the course of many diseases that are involved in the large group of arthritis. Some of the most common forms of arthritis are inflammatory arthritis, where the inflammation of the joint occurs as a result of the penetration of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi into the joint; reactive arthritis, in which the immune system of the body responds to an existing infection in the urinary tract or the digestive tract; gouty arthritis, which is due to a defect in the metabolism of some substances; osteoarthritis, caused by the inflammatory changes in the joint.
Some of the forms of arthritis occur acutely , while others – chronic, are persistent for a long time.
Much of the arthritis (those that have a disease-modulated “protective response” on the part of their own immune system) tend to affect the internal organs.
Inflammation of the joint may affect, in addition to immediate structures, adjacent auxiliary connective tissue structures such as tendons, muscles, ligaments, bones, and so on. Each of the diseases in the group of arthritis has its own appearance, it causes a different complex of complaints, it is found and treated differently, but the common one among them is the inflammation of varying degrees of one or more joints.
The most common symptoms of arthritis include: pain, movement restriction, stiffness, swelling, redness and warmth of the affected joint. They are expressed to varying degrees in different types of arthritis. Their appearance may be fast and sharp or gradual and slower.
Pain comes from a variety of sources: inflammation of the joint synovial membrane, tendons and ligaments, muscle spasms and fatigue. The combination of these factors, together with individual pain tolerance, determine the nature and strength of the pain.
The arthritis is often only a “part” of a more general systemic disease, the arthritis symptoms described above may be accompanied by varying degrees of body temperature, weakness, malaise, fatigue and complaints from the various internal organs affected (lungs, heart, eyes)
Different types of arthritis affect different number of joints. For example, infectious arthritis (from the direct penetration of microbes into the joint) most commonly affects the knee, while the arthritis in venous affects most commonly the chest-collar joints and the spinal-pelvic joints. Rheumatoid arthritis affects most often the small joints in which the bones of the wrist and fingers are connected, but can affect any joint, usually symmetrical.
The infectious arthritis symptoms are mainly flushing, pain, redness and swelling, occurring relatively quickly, usually a joint occurs, the general condition may be affected (fatigue, fever).
In rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, the initial and most commonly reported complaint is the morning stiffness in the affected number of symmetrical joints. In the advanced stages there is a characteristic deformation of the joints and a weakening of the muscles around them. There is also pain, swelling and warmth. The disease is chronic and has been going on for many years.
Arthritis in systemic diseases (systemic lupus) develops against a background of nonspecific fever, weight loss, and various complaints from the heart, lungs, and others.
Reactive arthritis most commonly occurs following infection of the genitourinary tract or digestive tract, affects one or more joints (most commonly the knee), and the inflammation can jump from one joint to another. Retired syndrome, which is a reactive arthritis after urinary tract infection, also has inflammation of the lining of the eye (conjunctivitis).
Arthritis in joint wear affects mostly large, weight-bearing joints (mostly hip and knee joints). Its beginning is gradual. Initially, the pain occurs in joints in the joint and resolves in rest, but then becomes almost constant. Inflammatory changes are more pronounced at the beginning of the process, and in more advanced phases there is a restriction of movements and weakening of the muscles.