What Is Arthritis?

The term arthritis encompasses over 100 conditions that primarily effect a body’s joints.  Some of the more familiar forms or related conditions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, septic arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia and gout.  While the prevalence of arthritis increases with age, both children and adults can suffer from these diseases.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis stems from the deterioration of a joint’s cartilage, causing stiffness, pain, and loss of movement.  Also called “knee arthritis” or “hip arthritis,” osteoarthritis effects joints of the body that receive the most stress, mainly the knees, hips and hands.

Rheumatoid arthritis, another prevalent form, is a type of inflammatory arthritis and an autoimmune disease.  It attacks the lining of the joints, producing pain, fluid build-up and inflammation.

Fibromyalgia, a related rheumatic condition that effects three to five percent of adult women, causes the impairment of the joints and soft tissues.  While technically not a true form of arthritis because it does not damage joints or cause inflammation, it produces similar symptoms such as chronic pain and fatigue that may benefit from some of the same non-medical treatments as arthritis.

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