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There is more than one sort of arthritis?

Is there more than one sort of arthritis?  Oh yes, about 100-200 different types (you can check out a list on Wikipediea Arthritis – Wikipedia) The first one most people think of is:

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1) Osteoarthritis (OA) – this is caused by wear and tear on the joints, you tend to get it as you get older. Osteoarthritis is called a non-inflammatory arthritis. An inflammatory arthritis has inflammatory white blood cells in the joint fluid.  Osteoarthritis has no white blood cells in the joint fluid so is termed non-inflammatory.

Inflammation (a red and hot area of the body) is caused (or “mediated”) by the immune system.  White blood cells are a part (or “component”) of the immune system. There are about 30 different types of inflammatory arthritis.  The most common one is rheumatoid arthritis.

2) Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – an inflammatory arthritis, the bodies immune system attacks it’s own joints and causes pain, stiffness and often swelling. Most people (about 80%) with RA, have something called RF, Rhematoid Factor, in their blood.

3) Psoriatic Arthritis (PA) – another inflammatory (immune mediated) arthritis, this is the one I have (although some unlucky people can get several different types of arthritis at the same time).  Most people (about 85%) get the psoriasis (itchy flaky skin) first, but some people (15%) get sore joints before they have trouble with their skin. Most people with PA, don’t have RF (Rheumatoid Factor) in their blood.

Last time I had my blood checked, I did not have RF, which was a relief, although psoriatic arthritis can be severe, rheumatoid arthritis tends to be worse, so I was pleased that I “only” had PA and not RA. Hopefully it will stay that way.

The UK Arthritis Research Campaign produce  lots of different booklets on different types of arthritis. They are detailed and helpful and well worth a look if you want more information on a specific type of arthritis. Children can get arthritis too, not just young people.  In Scotland Arthritis Care run “Joint Potential” for young adults aged 16-25 years, there are places available on their courses now, click on the link if you are interested. Arthritis care also have a “Young People’s” section in their discussion forum.