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Arthritis

Types of arthritis

Starting with the commonest and moving to the rarer the types of arthritis found in the developed world are:

Osteoarthritis

So common is this form of arthritis that it will affect us all in one way or another should we live long enough. It tends to attack the larger joints of the body and is sometimes referred to as the arthritis of wear and tare. The type of arthritis that attacks the hip joint is osteoarthritis. This is notorious for the severity of the pain that it can cause and the dramatic relief that hip replacement can bring about.

Just one word about osteoarthritis of the hip. When the pain gets so bad that it is keeping you awake at night then it is time to get a hip replacement. Sleep deprivation is serious health risk factor in its own right and there is absolutely nothing to be gained by waiting any longer for this miraculous surgery.

Gouty arthritis

Gout is three times commoner in men than in women. It is an extremely painful form of arthritis usually affecting only one joint at a time. It is caused by the body’s inability to clear uric acid out through the kidneys and this accumulates instead in the blood only to eventually crystallise out into the joint.

Uric acid in turn is a metabolite of a food substance called purine. Foods high in purine are yeast, as in beers and ail rich foods like oysters and other shell fish and meats. Gout can’t usually be controlled by diet alone. In addition to being sensible about avoiding rich foods Allopurinol will also need to be taken daily.

Acute gout is best treated with high dose of steroids descending over ten days.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is the commonest autoimmune disease affecting joints. It is three times commoner in women than in men and affects the small joints of hands and feet. It requires early intervention from a specialist in rheumatology.

Psoriatic and lupus arthritis
These are two other rarer forms of arthritis and the subject of separate articles on the website.

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