What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition in which one or more of your joints become inflamed. According to the CDC, 23% of adults (more than 54 million people) deal with some form of arthritis. Arthritis most commonly affects people over the age of 65 but has also been found in children, teenagers, and younger adults. The most common symptoms of arthritis are stiffness and pain in the joints, symptoms that may worsen with age. In addition, arthritis may cause redness, swelling, and loss of mobility in the affected joints.
The two most common types of arthritis are:
- Osteoarthritis: Normal wear and tear on a joint’s cartilage can cause osteoarthritis. Cartilage cushions the ends of bones in a joint, allowing for frictionless movement and shock absorption. After years of use and damage, this cartilage breaks down, and the bones in a joint grind directly on one another. This can limit mobility and cause significant pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the soft tissue in the joints. As this tissue is destroyed, the joints become damaged. In addition to joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis may also cause fatigue, fever, and a loss of appetite.
There are over 100 types of arthritis, each with different causes, symptoms, and treatments. Just as there are many forms of arthritis, there is also a wide range of treatment options available to help reduce symptoms of arthritis and improve your quality of life. Specific medication and treatment will depend upon your age, the type of arthritis you have, and your medical history.