Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. There
are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Two
of the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms of arthritis
usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly. Arthritis is most commonly seen
in adults over the age of 65, but it can also develop in children, teens, and younger adults.
Arthritis is more common in women than men and in people who are overweight.
Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis. Your range of
motion may also decrease, and you may experience redness of the skin around the joint. Many
people with arthritis notice their symptoms are worse in the morning hours. You may feel tired
or experience a loss of appetite due to the inflammation the immune system’s activity causes.
You may also become anemic, have a slight fever and severe arthritis can cause joint deformity
if left untreated. Cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue in your joints. It protects the
joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created when you move and put stress on them. A
reduction in the normal amount of this cartilage tissue cause some forms of arthritis. An infection
or injury to the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue.
The main goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of pain you’re experiencing and prevent
additional damage to the joints. You’ll learn what works best for you in terms of controlling the
pain. Some people find heating pads and ice packs to be soothing. Others use mobility assistance
devices, like canes or walkers, to help take pressure off sore joints. Improving your joint function
is also important. Physical therapy involving exercises that help strengthen the muscles around
the affected joint is a core component of arthritis treatment.
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