There are many different types of arthritis. The three most common types that affect older people are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Arthritis can attack any joint in the body. Sometimes arthritis will cause visual symptoms like redness, swelling, and pain. Sometimes these symptoms are short-lived, but the arthritis is still there damaging the joint as time goes by.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common kind of arthritis in older people. Osteoarthritis starts when cartilage starts to wear away. Osteoarthritis in the hands or hips may run in families. Osteoarthritis in the knees can be linked to obesity. Injuries or overuse may cause osteoarthritis in joints such as the knees, hips, or hands.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. In rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system attacks the lining of a joint just like it would if it were trying to protect you from injury or disease. Rheumatoid arthritis not only destroys joints, but it can also attack organs such as the heart, muscles, blood vessels, nervous system, and eyes.
Gout attacks are often brought on by eating foods like shellfish, liver, dried beans, peas, anchovies, or gravy. Alcohol use, obesity, and some medications can make gout worse. Some blood pressure medicines can also increase the chance of a gout attack in older people.
Each type of arthritis is treated a little differently, but some treatments are common to all of them — rest; exercise; eating a healthy, well-balanced diet; and learning the right way to use and protect the joints. There are some simple things that those who suffer from all forms of arthritis can do to help themselves.
For example, the right shoes and a cane can help to alleviate pain in the feet, knees, and hips when walking. There are also lots of gadgets that you can find to help you open jars and bottles or to turn the doorknobs in your house more easily.