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Dangers of Arthritis

Posted by Debra Murray on

There are several types of arthritis. All of them cause stiffness and pain and can lead to disability.

Osteoarthritis is a condition where a joint swells and causes pain. This can come about because the joint has worn down due to age or has been diseased or injured. Other types of arthritis come about when the immune system attacks the body, or when an infection attacks a joint. These types of arthritis can lead to complications that may be dangerous.

Even with osteoarthritis, a joint can become very deformed. Sometimes the deformation leads to the joint not being able to work. This can badly hinder a person's ability to do daily tasks and might even render him or her disabled.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the form of arthritis where the body's immune system turns on the systems in the body. The joints most affected are in the fingers and the wrist and can leave them so stiff that they no longer work. Moreover, the sufferer is often feverish and tired. They might also suffer from depression and anxiety.

The disease can come and go, with remissions in between painful flare-ups. But the worst part of RA is that it can also affect the lungs, the eyes and the mouth. Sufferers can develop dry, painful eyes, a dry mouth or anemia. A rare complication of RA is pleurisy, where the linings of the lungs are inflamed. RA sufferers can also experience similar inflammation in their blood vessels and in the membrane that surrounds the heart. Doctors still don't know what causes RA.

Infectious or septic arthritis also has its dangers. In this type of arthritis, a bacteria, virus or fungus has spread from one part of the body and attacked a joint. This leads to the pain and stiffness in regular arthritis as well as fever and warmth and swelling in the joint. Other symptoms of septic arthritis are loss of appetite, irritability and a rapid heartbeat.

The joints that are most likely to be affected in adults are in the legs, arms and knees. In children, the hip is the most common target for the disease. The child will try to avoid moving his or her hip because of the pain. Though infectious arthritis isn't an autoimmune disease like RA, a weakened immune system can put the person more at risk for developing it.

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