Forms of arthritis

 

Often referred to as “wear and tear” on the bones.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Almost half of all people over the age of 60 and virtually all over the age of 80 will have osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis has been called “wear and tear” or “degenerative” arthritis and there is growing understanding that it is an inflammatory arthritis. It occurs as a result of mechanical breakdown in the structures affecting the joints. This happens most often in the large weight bearing joints – the knees, hips and spine. It often occurs in the hands, but rarely in the feet or ankles apart from the big toe. Except as a result of injury or stress, osteoarthritis seldom affects the wrist, elbow, shoulder or jaw.

For more information download the a brochure about osteoarthritis or ring 0800 663 463 to speak with an Arthritis Educator.

Head of the Department of Physiotherapy at Auckland University of Technology Peter Larmer knows what it is like to live with osteoarthritis.

“The first ‘announcing’ of my arthritis occurred 400 metres from my home as I was finishing a 35km training run. My radiologist suggested an x-ray, which showed that I had significant degeneration in both hips.”

Learn more about osteoarthritis and hear more of Peter’s story

Recently Diagnosed with Osteoarthritis?

A presentation for those who have been recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis and are keen to learn more

Click to watch video

We would love to hear what you think about it and any suggestions that you might have for improvements by completing the following survey which should take no more than 5 mins. All responses will be confidential.

Click to take survey

Arthritis, it could surprise you! – Dr Peter Larmer talks about osteoarthritis (OA)

More about osteoarthritis

An inflammation of the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory illness that affects the joints and because it is “systemic” (affecting the entire body), it can affect other parts of the body as well.

Some people will have a mild form of rheumatoid arthritis. This may require only intermittent treatment for minor symptoms and may not lead to misshapened joints. 1 person in 6 affected by rheumatoid arthritis will have a more serious form that can cause painful, misshapened joints.

It is a chronic disease and may last a lifetime. Often, however, people experience periods of remission when the disease subsides. Remissions can last for short periods of time or, for several years. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but advances in scientific research mean people with rheumatoid arthritis can be assured of effective treatment, resulting in much less pain and fewer disabilities.

For more information download a brochure about rheumatoid arthritis or ring 0800 663 463 to speak with an Arthritis Educator.

Sarah knows what it is like to be a young person facing the reality of living with arthritis.

“When my rheumatoid arthritis flares up my joints get inflamed, my body gets stiff and the pain becomes overwhelming.  Sometimes I can’t walk or lift my arms; I get totally fatigued and anaemic.  It can get pretty horrible.”

Read more of Sarah’s story

Coping With Fatigue


Arthritis Today
Learn how to effectively deal with fatigue.

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and it is sometimes the first sign of inflammation. Fatigue can make it harder to concentrate or deal with pain – it can even make people feel helpless. Like pain, fatigue is a signal that something is wrong. Coping with fatigue can help you feel better.

Fatigue may be caused by inflammation, overdoing routine activities, medication side effects, stress, depression or a combination. Poor sleep and nutrition, and absence of regular exercise also may also contribute.

Feeling tired all the time can lead to stress and depression. And, if you become physically run down, your immune system will be less able to fight infection and illness. By setting priorities, making smart choices and conserving your strength, you will still be able to do most of what is important to you.

Read the full article from Arthritis Today

Rachel Anderson-Smith also has RA. Watch her tell her story:


Enbrel

If you have been prescribed Enbrel you may find this website helpful www.enbrel.co.nz

Humira

HUMIRA is used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. Visit the Humira website to find out more. www.humira.co.nz

A chronic rheumatic condition that affects the spine.

Ankylosing means stiffening or joining together and is used to describe the fusion of bones in the spine. Spondylitis means inflammation of the spine – a characteristic feature of AS.

In the early stages of AS most of the pain and stiffness is caused by inflammation. Over time, the proces of spinal inflammation and associated tissue damage may lead to bony overgrowths extending from one vertebra to the next. This may then lead to fusion of part of the spine and sometimes the pelvis. The elasticity of the ligaments and tendions may also be replaced by rigid fused bone, with movement of the spine becoming restricted.

For more information download the a brochure about ankylosing spondylitis or ring 0800 663 463 to speak with an Arthritis Educator.

At eight years of age, Matt Lockwood’s knee started to swell for no apparent reason and he was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). The arthritis spread to his ankles, fingers and jaw. Eventually Matt was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

Read more of Matt’s story

Arthritis, it could surprise you! – Dr Lisa Stamp talks about ankylosing spondylitis.

Learn more about ankylosing spondylitis


Humira

HUMIRA is used to treat active ankylosing spondylitis. Visit the Humira website to find out more. www.humira.co.nz

Fibromyalgia often causes widespread pain leading people to describe the symptoms as if it ‘hurts all over’.

For many people a diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome is a relief – at long last there is a name for what is wrong – and an assurance that it is not progressive or fatal.

The word ’fibromyalgia’ comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro), and the Greek for muscle (myo) and pain (algia). It is called a ‘syndrome’ because it is a collection of symptoms such as muscular pain, stiffness, fatigue, rather than a disease.

Sites tested for tenderness in diagnosing fibromyalgia syndrome – clustering around the neck, shoulder, chest, hip, knee and elbow regions.

Around 1 in 50 people will develop fibromyalgia at some time in their life. It most commonly develops between the ages of 25 – 55; and women are more likely to develop this syndrome than men.

Fibromyalgia often runs in families, a person is more likely to develop fibromyalgia if a relative also has the condition. People with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or ankylosing spondylitis are also more likely to develop fibromyalgia.

For more information, download a brochure about fibromyalgia or ring 0800 663 463 to speak with an Arthritis Educator.

Your Stories

Jill was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia arthritis over 30 years ago.  For many years, she was able to manage by taking appropriate medications.

When she retired at 60 years of age, she discovered that her second son had secondary melanoma and her stress levels became extreme.

Over several years, she travelled to be with her son, and her health deteriorated; first she developed carpal tunnel syndrome, then rheumatoid arthritis.

As her health got worse, her fibromyalgia got worse.

Read more of Jill’s story

For Lee, it took over four years to arrive at a firm diagnosis: a type of arthritis called fibromyalgia. “Having fibromyalgia means spending years in pain, feeling raw, dizzy and nauseous.” Lee says, “Ponytails give you headaches that last for weeks. You’re bone tired but the pain keeps you awake all night so you start each morning feeling irritable and foggy.”

With fibromyalgia, the pain can be stinging, burning, aching, radiating… the pain moves all over your body and from moment to moment you can never be sure how much you will hurt. As Lee puts it, “Sometimes your skin feels like it’s crawling with bugs and you just can’t stand to be touched. But when the people you love want a hug, how do you tell them not to touch you?

Read more of Lee’s story

Visit Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia and create a treatment plan that fits your individual situation, using a three-step process: study, plan, act.

Do I have arthritis? Self Assessment Tool

Aches and pains are no strangers to most of us – so how do you know whether you are at risk of getting arthritis? You are more likely to get arthritis if:

  • you have a family history of arthritis
  • you have had a joint injury or joint infection
  • you have worked in a heavy physical occupation
  • you are in an older age group
  • you are obese
  • you are female

You may have arthritis if:

  • you have pain and stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have early morning stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have recurring pain, tenderness, or swelling in one or more joints
  • you have overall aching, joint stiffness, and fatigue
  • you have muscle weakness associated with joint stiffness
  • you have difficulty doing daily tasks

If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see your Doctor. There is a lot which can be done for the more than half a million New Zealanders with arthritis – and we’re helping those people with information, education and support services.

Gout is one of the most common forms of arthritis, and it is often said to be the most painful.

It occurs as an acute attack, often coming on overnight. Within 12-24 hours there is severe pain and swelling in the affected joint. The skin over the joint may also become red and shiny.

A skin ulcer caused by a gouty lump.

Gout affects more men than women, in women it occurs after the menopause. In New Zealand gout is more common in Maori and Pacific Island men (higher than 10%).

Gout usually affects only one or two joints at a time – most often the big toe; feet, ankles, knees, wrists, fingers can be also affected. Without treatment the attack subsides in a week or so. If gout is not treated, attacks become more frequent and more severe and can lead to joint damage and disability.

Gout is caused by high level of uric acid in the blood.  The main factors that increase uric acid in the body:

  • genetic (i.e. it runs in the family)
  • being overweight
  • high alcohol intake, especially beer
  • high intake of foods that produce a lot of uric acid
  • some drugs for the treatment of high blood pressure
  • long standing kidney disease
  • high intake of fructose rich drinks.

For more information, download a brochure (in English) about gout (.pdf, 1.43mb) or ring 0800 663 463 to speak with an Arthritis Educator.

Ashton developed Gout when he was 27 years old. At the time, he wondered “Why me?”

“I was physically fit and thought I was invincible. When gout came into my life, I thought I was doomed. There didn’t seem to be enough help out there. I had no one to turn to in the beginning, no role models.”

Read more of Ashton’s story

You can find more information about Gout on the Health Navigator website.

You can find more information about the prevention of Gout on the Gout Happy Feet website.


Information for Health professionals


New Gout Clinical Pathway:

Do I have arthritis? Self Assessment Tool

Aches and pains are no strangers to most of us – so how do you know whether you are at risk of getting arthritis? You are more likely to get arthritis if:

  • you have a family history of arthritis
  • you have had a joint injury or joint infection
  • you have worked in a heavy physical occupation
  • you are in an older age group
  • you are obese
  • you are female

You may have arthritis if:

  • you have pain and stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have early morning stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have recurring pain, tenderness, or swelling in one or more joints
  • you have overall aching, joint stiffness, and fatigue
  • you have muscle weakness associated with joint stiffness
  • you have difficulty doing daily tasks

If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see your Doctor. There is a lot which can be done for the more than half a million New Zealanders with arthritis – and we’re helping those people with information, education and support services.

Lupus is a disease that affects joints, muscles and other parts of the body.

Lupus can also affect the skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, nervous system and blood and in particular the immune system.

Lupus is an auto-immune disease, which means that some people with lupus develop antibodies that attack healthy tissues.  As a result, different parts of the body become inflamed and this causes pain and swelling. Lupus can mimic other diseases and can be difficult to diagnose.

Women are nine times more likely to be diagnosed with lupus, and it is usually diagnosed between ages 15 and 45. Lupus also affects children or older people. In New Zealand, lupus more common amongst Maori, Pacific Island and Asian people.

The causes of lupus are not well understood, it is likely that both hereditary and environmental factors are involved.

You can learn more by visiting the Lupus Trust of New Zealand website.

For more information download the a brochure about lupus or ring 0800 663 463 to speak with an Arthritis Educator.

For 40-year-old Leanne from Maungatapere, being able to better manage the effects of lupus meant putting her career on hold.

“About three years ago, I had to give up on working because of the intense fatigue and severe joint pain, which are common symptom of lupus.  I just couldn’t cope,” says Leanne.

Read more of Leanne’s story

Visit the Lupus Trust of New Zealand.

Do I have arthritis? Self Assessment Tool

Aches and pains are no strangers to most of us – so how do you know whether you are at risk of getting arthritis? You are more likely to get arthritis if:

  • you have a family history of arthritis
  • you have had a joint injury or joint infection
  • you have worked in a heavy physical occupation
  • you are in an older age group
  • you are obese
  • you are female

You may have arthritis if:

  • you have pain and stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have early morning stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have recurring pain, tenderness, or swelling in one or more joints
  • you have overall aching, joint stiffness, and fatigue
  • you have muscle weakness associated with joint stiffness
  • you have difficulty doing daily tasks

If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see your Doctor. There is a lot which can be done for the more than half a million New Zealanders with arthritis – and we’re helping those people with information, education and support services.

The name scleroderma literally means hard skin.

Scleroderma is a rare chronic, often progressive autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues.

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a symptom of scleroderma. The fingers or toes turn white, then blue in the cold, and then red as blood flow returns.

Scleroderma affects the connective tissues of the body (tissues that hold together muscles, joints, blood vessels and internal organs). The connective tissues of people with scleroderma have too much of a protein called ‘collagen’. Collagen is important to give connective tissue its strength, but excess collagen causes hardening and tightening of the affected area.

Both sexes are affected by scleroderma, but it affects more women than men.

Scleroderma affects around one in a thousand New Zealanders and can occur at any age but the peak is 40–60 years.  It is not hereditary and rarely occurs in more than one family member.

There is no cure for scleroderma, but many treatments are available for specific symptoms.

For more information download the a brochure about scleroderma or ring 0800 663 463 to speak with an Arthritis Educator.

Cushla was first diagnosed with Raynauds a number of years ago, which then progressed to scleroderma.

“When I was first diagnosed, it was really quite confusing.  The language and terminology is a real challenge and I wasn’t ready for the way I was affected by fatigue.  I felt like I couldn’t rely on my body anymore.”

“One night I would go to sleep feeling like things were all good, and the next morning I wouldn’t be able to string a sentence together.  It makes planning my life really hard.”

Read more of Cushla’s story

Do I have arthritis? Self Assessment Tool

Aches and pains are no strangers to most of us – so how do you know whether you are at risk of getting arthritis? You are more likely to get arthritis if:

  • you have a family history of arthritis
  • you have had a joint injury or joint infection
  • you have worked in a heavy physical occupation
  • you are in an older age group
  • you are obese
  • you are female

You may have arthritis if:

  • you have pain and stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have early morning stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have recurring pain, tenderness, or swelling in one or more joints
  • you have overall aching, joint stiffness, and fatigue
  • you have muscle weakness associated with joint stiffness
  • you have difficulty doing daily tasks

If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see your Doctor. There is a lot which can be done for the more than half a million New Zealanders with arthritis – and we’re helping those people with information, education and support services.

Reactive arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that occurs after an infection in the bowel or genital tract. 

It is one of the common forms of arthritis affecting young men, usually between 20 and 40 years old, but it may also affect young women and children.

Pain and swelling, usually of the knees, ankles or toes are often the first signs of reactive arthritis.  Other joints can be affected, including fingers, wrists, elbows and joints at the base of the spine.  Tendons around joints, such as the Achilles tendon, can also become inflamed.

Usually, reactive arthritis can be distinguished from other forms of arthritis because of the link to an earlier infection.

The original infection may be food poisoning, usually involving diarrhoea or an infection of the genital tract, such as chlamydia or non-specific urethritis.

For more information, download a brochure about reactive arthritis or ring 0800 663 463 to speak with an Arthritis Educator.

Do I have arthritis? Self Assessment Tool

Aches and pains are no strangers to most of us – so how do you know whether you are at risk of getting arthritis? You are more likely to get arthritis if:

  • you have a family history of arthritis
  • you have had a joint injury or joint infection
  • you have worked in a heavy physical occupation
  • you are in an older age group
  • you are obese
  • you are female

You may have arthritis if:

  • you have pain and stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have early morning stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have recurring pain, tenderness, or swelling in one or more joints
  • you have overall aching, joint stiffness, and fatigue
  • you have muscle weakness associated with joint stiffness
  • you have difficulty doing daily tasks

If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see your Doctor. There is a lot which can be done for the more than half a million New Zealanders with arthritis – and we’re helping those people with information, education and support services.

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory disorder that occurs when your body’s immune system begins to attack healthy cells and tissue.

The result is inflamed joints and overproduction of skin cells.  This may cause joint pain and swelling, scaly patches on areas of skin and thickening or pitting of the fingernails and toenails.

Most people with psoriatic arthritis do not have severe skin symptoms.  If someone has severe skin symptoms it does not mean they will have severe joint symptoms.

The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis usually start slowly.  Joint tissue becomes inflamed leading to pain, swelling and stiffness. Over time, the muscles and ligaments around the bone, the cartilage and the bones themselves, can become inflamed and damaged, often leading to joint deformities.

Men and women are equally affected with psoriatic arthritis, which usually appear during adulthood.

For more information, download a brochure about psoriatic arthritis or ring 0800 663 463 to speak with an Arthritis Educator.

Following Canterbury’s devastating earthquake in September 2010, Christchurch’s  mother-of-two Melanie had her first flare up of arthritis.

“After the first big earthquake, my stress levels were pretty high and the pain just kept getting worse and worse.  It got to point where I felt like I couldn’t walk.  As a stay at home Mum with two kids, not being able to walk made things pretty tough,” says Melanie.

Read more of Melanie’s story

Enbrel

If you have been prescribed Enbrel you may find this website helpful http://www.enbrel.co.nz


Humira

HUMIRA is used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis. Visit the Humira website to find out more. www.humira.co.nz

Do I have arthritis? Self Assessment Tool

Aches and pains are no strangers to most of us – so how do you know whether you are at risk of getting arthritis? You are more likely to get arthritis if:

  • you have a family history of arthritis
  • you have had a joint injury or joint infection
  • you have worked in a heavy physical occupation
  • you are in an older age group
  • you are obese
  • you are female

You may have arthritis if:

  • you have pain and stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have early morning stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have recurring pain, tenderness, or swelling in one or more joints
  • you have overall aching, joint stiffness, and fatigue
  • you have muscle weakness associated with joint stiffness
  • you have difficulty doing daily tasks

If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see your Doctor. There is a lot which can be done for the more than half a million New Zealanders with arthritis – and we’re helping those people with information, education and support services.

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) causes severe stiffness and pain in the muscles of the neck, shoulders, lower back, buttocks and thighs.

People with PMR may experience weariness and loss of energy, night sweats and fevers, weight loss and feeling low or depressed.

Polymyalgia rheumatica mainly affects people over the age of 60. Women are affected 2 to 3 times as often as men and it affects about 1 in 2,000 people. The cause is unknown and onset can be dramatic.

Giant cell arteritis, also called temporal arteritis, causes small and medium sized arteries to become inflamed, swollen and sore. The arteries of the head, excluding those of the brain, are most commonly affected. This can result in headaches, jaw pain and tenderness of the scalp.

Giant cell arteritis (GCA) can affect the blood vessels to the eye and cause blindness. While this occasionally comes out of the blue, it is often preceded by brief spells of visual blurring or double vision.

For more information, download a brochure about polymyalgia rheumatica or ring 0800 663 463 to speak with an Arthritis Educator.

Do I have arthritis? Self Assessment Tool

Aches and pains are no strangers to most of us – so how do you know whether you are at risk of getting arthritis? You are more likely to get arthritis if:

  • you have a family history of arthritis
  • you have had a joint injury or joint infection
  • you have worked in a heavy physical occupation
  • you are in an older age group
  • you are obese
  • you are female

You may have arthritis if:

  • you have pain and stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have early morning stiffness in one or more joints
  • you have recurring pain, tenderness, or swelling in one or more joints
  • you have overall aching, joint stiffness, and fatigue
  • you have muscle weakness associated with joint stiffness
  • you have difficulty doing daily tasks

If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see your Doctor. There is a lot which can be done for the more than half a million New Zealanders with arthritis – and we’re helping those people with information, education and support services.