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Difference Between Arthritis and Crippling Arthritis

Arthritis is a term used to refer generally to joint diseases. It is mostly associated with older people. A large number of people believe that the word refers to just one condition. The signs of arthritis are understood to be weakened, painful and swollen joints. In reality, there are several types of arthritis. While they all affect healthy joints in some way, the causes of the various types of arthritis are different and so are their treatment procedures. The signs and symptoms of various types of arthritis may also differ significantly. This Article limits itself to just two types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and crippling or rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Most people base their understanding of all arthritic diseases on their understanding of or experience with osteoarthritis. That is why osteoarthritis is commonly referred to as just arthritis. It is also referred to as degenerative arthritis in some quarters. It occurs when the cartilage, the soft cushion or padding that joins one bone to another healthy joint, wears off, leaving bone in contact with bone. Commonly, this type of arthritis results from repetitive movement over a long period of time and this is why it will be found in older generations. The wear and tear resulting from such movement wears out the cartilage and leaves bare bones rubbing against each other. This is what causes stiffness, swelling and pain at the joints. Ordinarily, osteoarthritis starts with one joint and spreads to others with time.

The likelihood of one suffering from osteoarthritis may be increased by factors such as excess weight, genetic predisposition and age. It may be managed by resting the affected joints adequately, managing one's weight for better health, hot and cold compresses and taking pain relievers if necessary.

Crippling arthritis, also referred to as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when one's immune system, instead of fighting off harmful infections, starts attacking healthy cells in the cartilage and other lining of joints. This causes the joints to swell, ache and stiffen. Rheumatoid arthritis affects multiple joints at a time and it does so in a symmetrical fashion. This is to say that if one knee is swollen and painful then the other knee is swollen and painful too. The reason rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as crippling arthritis is because it slowly erodes the muscles, ligaments and bones surrounding the affected joint. As a result, if not treated, it gradually eats away at the muscles and cripples the once healthy patient. In some patients, it may even damage internal organs.

The key to managing crippling arthritis is to start treatment early and to do so consistently and aggressively. Early diagnosis is critical here. When treatment is started early, it is possible to treat and defeat crippling arthritis completely and restore a perfectly healthy immune system and pain free joints. When it has progressed significantly, however, the goal of treatment would be to slow down the progress of the disease and in that way perhaps prevent the crippling effect of this type of arthritis.

Always consult with your Doctor.

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