Brookwood Baptist Health Blog

Stories and tips for a healthy lifestyle


Oct 22, 2015

More than 50 million adults have been diagnosed with arthritis, meaning one in five people over the age of 18 have the disease. It is the number one cause of disability in the United States and can drastically limit both mobility and ability to do basic daily activities. But what is arthritis? Simply put, arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Inflammation can affect any of the important structures inside a joint, including the joint lining (synovium), bones, cartilage, or supporting tissues.

In honor of Arthritis Day in October, we interviewed Dr. Nop Unnoppet, one of Brookwood Baptist Health’s rheumatologists to learn more about the disease and treatment options.

Are there different kinds of arthritis?

There are two main types of arthritis: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Inflammatory arthritis is caused by an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid, lupus or psoriasis. It isn’t age related and anyone – from two to ninety-two – can get it if they have an autoimmune disease. We normally see people start to experience physical changes around age 35, and the signs and symptoms of arthritis may begin from there.

Non-inflammatory arthritis deals more with degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis. If you live long enough, you will get this type of arthritis. It’s just one of the ways that our bodies start breaking down as we get older. It will affect people at different ages, so some may get it at 60 and some may get it at 100. It just depends on your genetics and your lifestyle.

What causes arthritis?

Both kinds of arthritis are caused by diseases. If you have the disease, then the likelihood of getting arthritis increases. You can’t get arthritis if you don’t have a disease that causes it, so the myth about cracking your knuckles causing arthritis is false. There is nothing you can do to your body to cause arthritis except contract an arthritis-causing disease.

Is there anything you can do to prevent it?

You can’t prevent arthritis from happening. However, you can lessen its effects by staying healthy and active. 

What are some of the warning signs of arthritis?

If you start noticing pain, stiffness, and swelling of a joint, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a doctor.

Can arthritis be cured?

There is no cure for arthritis, but it’s treatable. There are different treatments depending on your particular case of the disease, but one of our most popular choices is joint replacement. If you replace the joint that has arthritis, you essentially take away the arthritis by removing and replacing the bone and joint with metal. Metal can’t get arthritis, so that is the most effective way to “cure” it.

 To make an appointment with Dr. Unnoppet or any of Brookwood Baptist Health’s rheumatologists, click here.