What is arthritis?

Arthritis refers to joint pain or joint disease and can affect people of all races, genders, and ages. It may be caused by inflammation, which affects the tissue lining of the joints. Inflammation may include swelling, redness, heat, and pain and severe damage of the joints may occur in some types of arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are over 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. Here, we will discuss the most common types.

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout are three of the most common types of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system is not working properly. It affects the joints and bones, but it may also affect the internal organs and systems. Osteoarthritis usually comes with age and most often affects the hips, knees, and fingers. At times, it follows an injury to a joint, such as a fall, car accident, or sports injury. Gout, another common form of arthritis, is caused by the formation of crystals in the affected joint. Although the big toe is usually affected, other joints may be affected as well.

The signs and symptoms of arthritis may include pain in your joints, fever, weight loss, rashes, and itchiness. You may have trouble moving. However, these symptoms may be part of another illness. It is very important that you speak with your doctor. He or she will be able to tell you if you have arthritis or a related condition after meeting with you and running diagnostic tests. These tests may include X-rays, bloodwork, and MRIs.

Once your doctor diagnoses the type of arthritis or related condition, he or she should discuss treatment options with you. Treatment for arthritis may include medications to treat the pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Your doctor may also suggest gentle stretching exercises, walking, ice packs, and resting the joint. Some people with arthritis may benefit from hip replacement surgery.

The following organizations provide great information on arthritis, related resources, and research:

To learn more about NIDILRR funded arthritis research, check out this post on our Spotlight Blog. Please contact our information specialists if you would like to learn more.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
This entry was posted in Answer Queue and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What is arthritis?

  1. Pingback: May is Arthritis Awareness Month! | Collection Spotlight from the National Rehabilitation Information Center

  2. Pingback: The Better Living Toolkit: A new resource from the Arthritis Foundation | Collection Spotlight from the National Rehabilitation Information Center

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