The term “arthritis” covers more than 120 diseases and conditions that affect joints, the surrounding tissues and other connective tissues causing pain, swelling and stiffness.
Arthritis affects nearly one out of every six Americans, making it one of the most common diseases in the United States. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, gout, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
What are the causes of arthritis?
As you get older your joints naturally degenerate over time, causing arthritis. Gout is caused by elevated uric acid levels. The cause of many forms of arthritis is unknown. Studies are being done to find out what role genetics, lifestyle and environment play in developing arthritis.
What are the symptoms?
The pattern and location of symptoms can very depending on the type of arthritis. General symptoms include:
Limited movement of joints
What are the treatments for arthritis?
The focus of treatment for arthritis is to control pain, minimize joint damage and improve or maintain quality of life. Treatment may include:
Physical or occupational therapy
Splints or other joint assistive devices
Patient education and support
What can I do to help prevent arthritis?
Not all forms of arthritis can be prevented; however, you can reduce symptoms and/or risk of arthritis by taking these steps: