Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints of the body. It is characterized by inflammation, which causes swelling, stiffness and pain. Joint arthritis can be categorized into two types:
Inflammatory responses: While temporary inflammation is a natural bodily response following injury, there are various diseases and conditions that can cause the joints of the body to be in a state of consistent inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis that fits into this category.
Age-related, “wear and tear” arthritis: This is called osteoarthritis and it is the most common form of arthritis, although over one hundred variations exist. Osteoarthritis is most prevalent in women and most likely to occur in women over the age of fifty. However, there are always exceptions to the norm and anyone whose cartilage is compromised will experience the pain and stiffness associated with bone-on-bone contact, which is the source of the intense pain often reported by patients with joint arthritis.
Osteoarthritis can also be referred to as degenerative joint disease and while it can occur in any joint, it is most common in the spine, knees, hips and hands. As the affected joint becomes stiff and sore, the patient loses their mobility in that part of the body and regular, everyday activities can become very difficult and very painful. Those suffering from osteoarthritis often also experience related conditions, such as bone spurs and muscle weakening.
Common Symptoms of Joint Arthritis
Of course, the most prominent and most debilitating symptom of arthritis is pain. For some people, that pain develops slowly and gradually over time and for others, it occurs more suddenly. In addition to pain, stiffness, swelling and weakness are commonly reported symptoms.
In some cases of joint arthritis, cartilage pieces can become loose in the joint and can cause it to “lock.” It is easy to understand why many patients with this condition seek out medical treatment to remedy their damaged joints. While there is no known cure for arthritis, there are a variety of helpful approaches to care - everything from conservative strategies like resting and taking supplements to surgical solutions like joint replacement surgery.
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis.
Arthritis is known as a disease that occurs primarily in adults, but some forms, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can occur in children as well.
Pain levels increase in patients with osteoarthritis in weight-bearing joints. These include the hip, knee and spine.
In developing countries, osteoarthritis is one of the ten most disabling diseases.
Approximately 25 million Americans have degenerative joint arthritis.
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