As we accumulate birthdays, it often takes a little longer to get started in the morning. However, if you wake up with stiffness and it takes an excessive amount of time to get moving, it could be a sign of a more serious condition.
The term “arthritis” is used to describe pain in the joints. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is a degenerative disease and occurs due to wear and tear on the joints, and there is very minimal inflammation.
This type of arthritis is usually not associated with any significant degree of morning stiffness, and pain is aggravated by activity and improves with rest. Joint pain caused by osteoarthritis usually occurs after age 50 and is not linked to diseases of other organs.
On the other hand, inflammatory arthritis is an entirely different disease. This condition is caused by an overactive immune system that attacks the body’s own tissue. This generally causes warm joints that are swollen (“fever in the joints”) and prolonged morning stiffness. It frequently is associated with signs and symptoms that involve other organ systems. This category of arthritis includes rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, gout and other similar conditions.
The most common type of inflammatory arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. While osteoarthritis affects men and women equally, rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women, especially if there is a family history of this disease. Because this is actually a disorder of the immune system, other organs, such as the skin, eyes and lungs often are affected. Psoriatic arthritis, for example, is associated with a serious skin rash. The rash and joint pain are both improved with treatment.