What is Arthritis?
Arthritis literally means “joint inflammation”.
Most people think arthritis is just a single disease as quite often referred to but actually arthritis is an umbrella term for a group of over 100 rheumatic diseases and other conditions. There are almost 46 million adults and around 300.000 under eighteens in the United States of America alone who are affected by any of the 100+ conditions. Arthritis and its various forms can affect people of any ages, even children, starting from their infancy. People who are reaching their 60s though are more likely to have the most common form of arthritis – osteoarthritis (OA). Some forms of arthritis are more likely to affect only young adults when they are just about to leave home, begin their careers and start family.
All of these 100-plus forms of conditions have similar footprint – they all affect the joints, and also the musculoskeletal system. Joints are the junction of two bones that permits movement. There are various arthritis related joint problems: inflammation and damaged joint cartilage (this is the bit what covers the end of your bones, feels tough but smooth, and enables bones to against one another), stiffness in joints and pain. Depending of the location and involvement of the damaged joint cartilage it can lead joint instability, weakness and visible deformities. This can interfere with the simplest of daily tasks as brushing your teeth, walking, using a computer or climbing stairs.
Unfortunately for many people with arthritis the joint problems do not end there. There are many forms of arthritis what can affect the whole body – classified as systematic arthritis. Systematic arthritis can cause damage to pretty much any part of your bodily organs and system. It can affect anything from skin to heart, lungs to blood vessels and kidneys. Arthritis-related conditions mainly affect the muscles and the bones.
Types of Arthritis
There are several diseases where joint pain is primary, and is considered the main feature. When you hear someone say that they have “arthritis” it means they most likely have one of these arthritis conditions:
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Click on any of the above types of arthritis to read and find out more about them.
In our future posts we will cover the following subjects about arthritis:
Causes of Arthritis