What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis, a joint disorder classified as a rheumatic disease, is most commonly associated with inflammation and pain (arthralgia) where bones meet. Common symptoms include the limited function of joints, joint stiffness, swelling, tenderness, redness, and warmth. Many forms of arthritis, because they are rheumatic, can also affect other parts of the body not directly involving joints. In those cases fever, gland swelling, weight loss and fatigue, even problems with major organs heart, lungs or kidneys can result.

Arthritis sufferers include men and women, children and adults alike affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Nearly 60 out of 10 are women and half of those ailing from arthritis are over the age of 65. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in people over the age of 55.

There are many causes and forms of arthritis, ranging from the wear and tear of cartilage (osteoarthritis) to an overactive immune system (such rheumatoid arthritis). All together, over 100 diagnosed types of arthritis form the most common type of chronic illness in the United States. The most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis. gout and pseudogout, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, still’s disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Treatment of arthritis really depends on the type and usually includes lifestyle changes (exercise and weight control), physical and occupational therapy, and medications (symptomatic or targeted at the cause), or arthroplasty (joint replacement surgery). Stretching exercises, over the counter (like ibuprofin) or prescription pain medication, or other treatments deemed appropriate for the symptoms.

If you feel you may be suffering from a form of arthritis please see your doctor immediately, you may even be referred to a rheumatologist – medical arthritis expert. Early and accurate diagnosis can help prevent irreversible damage and disability and ensure a comfortable life, especially as you age.

October 28th, 2007 • mdvaldosta • Arthritis, Conditions and Diseases No Comments »

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