Inflammatory arthritis and Metabolic arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis can affect one or more joints, where as metabolic arthritis affects a single joint or a small number of joints, such as the big toe and hands.

Updated: November 4, 2019


Inflammatory arthritis can affect one or more joints, and the inflammation can damage the surface of the joints as well as the underlying bone where as metabolic arthritis affects a single joint or a small number of joints, such as the big toe and hands.

Inflammatory arthritis:

A part of healing process of our body is inflammation which occur as a defense against viruses and bacteria or as a response to injuries such as burns. However, inflammation occurs in people for no apparent reason in case of people with inflammatory arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis can affect one or more joints, and the inflammation can damage the surface of the joints as well as the underlying bone resulting in pain, stiffness and swelling.
Some of the examples of inflammatory arthritis include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Arthritis associated with colitis or psoriasis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis

Along with joints the inflammation may also affect the tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system of your body mistakenly attacks the joints.  Immune system normally protects the health of your body by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses. Connective tissues are more commonly effected, leading to joint inflammation, pain, and degeneration of the joint tissue.
The tissue that lines the inside of joints (the synovium) get thicken, resulting in swelling and pain in and around the joints. Inflammation is the main cause for this. The synovium makes a fluid that lubricates joints and helps them move smoothly. Left untreated, cartilage, the elastic tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint, as well as the bones can get damaged.
Loss of cartilage can result in reducing the joint spacing between bones. Joints can become loose, unstable, painful and lose their mobility. Joint deformity also can occur which cannot be reversed. Therefore, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment to control RA is always advisable.
Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the joints of the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles which is usually symmetrical. RA is also called a systemic disease as it can affect entire body systems, such as the cardiovascular or respiratory systems which may include ischemic heart disease and stroke.

Psoriatic arthritis:

Psoriatic arthritis is a joint problem that is associated with a skin condition called psoriasis. In most of the cases people develop psoriasis first followed by psoriatic arthritis, but joint problems can occasionally occur before skin lesions appear.
It occurs when the immune system attack healthy cells and tissue. The abnormal immune response causes inflammation in the joints and an overproduction of skin cells resulting in damage of the joints.
Factors that increase the risk, include:

  • having psoriasis
  • family history
  • being aged from 30 to 50 year

People with psoriatic arthritis will have a higher number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including increased BMI, triglycerides, and C-reactive protein.

Metabolic arthritis:

When uric acid builds up and accumulates in the form of needle-like crystals in the joint, it results in sudden spikes of extreme joint pain or a gout attack. The reason for building up of uric acid is high levels of uric acid in the body. People develop high level because they either naturally produce more than required by their body or their body cannot clear the uric acid quickly enough through kidney.
Gout can either come and go in episodes or become chronic if uric acid levels are not reduced.It commonly affects a single joint or a small number of joints, such as the big toe and hands.

Gout:

Gout is a rheumatic disease that occurs when uric acid crystals, or monosodium urate, are formed in body tissues and fluids. When the body produces too much uric acid or does not excrete enough uric acid, the crystals are formed. Acute gout normally appears as a severely red, hot, and swollen joint with severe pain. Sometimes it can be chronic. The flares can last from days to weeks. Recurrent attacks of acute gout can lead to gouty arthritis, which is a degenerative form of chronic arthritis.
Risk factors include:

  • poor kidney function
  • overweight or obesity
  • hypertension
  • some common medicines
  • use of diuretics
  • a diet rich in meat and seafood
  • alcohol intake


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