The term Arthritis refers to many different diseases most of which are characterised by inflammation of one or more joints. Inflammation, pain, and stiffness may also be present in adjacent parts of the body, such as the muscles near the joint.
Rheumatoid-Arthritis (RA). Is an autoimmune disease which the immune system of the body attacks its own tissues, in this case its own cartilage and joint linings. RA is characterised by inflammation of the joint, swelling, pain, and loss of function. Usually, this form occurs bilaterally, ie, if your left wrist is affected so your right wrist will be affected also, though not usually to the same degree.
The primary symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is inflammation of the synovial membrane. If untreated, the membrane thickens and synovial fluid accumulates. The resulting pressure causes pain and tenderness. The membrane then produces an abnormal granulation tissue, called Pannus, that adheres to the surface of the articular cartilage and sometimes errodes the cartilage completely. When the cartilage is destroyed, fibrous tissue joins the exposed bone ends. The tissue ossifies and fuses the joint so that it is immovable and produces the ultimate crippling effect of rheumatoid arthritis. The growth of the granular tissue causes the distortion of the fingers that is so typical of hands that have been effected by the disease.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that apparently results from a combination of ageing, irritation of the joints, and wear and abrasion. Commonly known as “wear and tear” arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a non-inflammatory, progressive disorder of movable, particularly weight bearing joints. It is characterised by deterioration of articular cartilage and by the formation of new bone in the subchondral areas and at the margin of the joint. The cartilage slowly degenerates and as the bone ends become exposed, small bumps or spurs, of new osseous tissue are deposited on them. These spurs decrease the space of the joint cavity and restrict joint movement. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis usually affects only the articular cartilage. The synovial membrane is rarely destroyed. And other tissues are unaffected. A major distinction between osteoarhtritis and rheumatoid arthritis is that the former strikes the larger joints (knees,hips) first, whereas the latter strikes the smaller joints.
Gouty Arthritis. Uric acid is a waste product produced during the metabolism of nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) subunits. A person who suffers from gout either produces excessive amounts of uric acid or is not able to excrete as much as normal. The result is a build up of uric acid in the blood. This excess then reacts with sodium to form a salt called sodium urate. Crystals of this salt accumulate in soft tissues. Typical sites are the kidneys and cartilage of the ears and joints.
In gouty arthritis, sodium urate crystals are deposited in the soft tissues of the joints. The crystals irritate and errode the cartilage, causing inflammation, swelling, and acute pain. Eventually the crystals destroy all the joint tissues. If the disorder is not treated, the ends of the articulating bones fuse and the joint becomes immovable.
Gouty arthritis occurs primarily in middle age and older males. Studies have indicated that an abnormal gene sometimes causes the disease. As a result of this gene, the body manufactures unusually large amounts of uric acid. Diet and environmental factors such as stress and climate are also suspected causes of gouty arthritis.
Amavata or Rheumatism. In Ayurveda the cause of rheumatism is attributed to a substance called “Ama” which is produced in the body. Ama is the gradual build up of toxins in the body caused by incorrect diet and lifestyle regime and improper digestion and metabolism.
Once the the Ama has reached a certain level of accumulation it overflows into the joint spaces in the body causing inflammation and pain.
Vatarakta or Gout. Vatarakta or gout is a painful metabolic disease which results in inflammation and chalky deposits in the joints. It is caused by incorrect diet and lifestyle regime for instance eating spicy, rich and sour foods, drinking of alcohol and lack of exercise, too much sleep or sleeping during the day , and at the same time lack of sleep.