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General Information on Arthritis

Arthritis means inflamed joint and is used to describe a group of distinct diseases. There are many types of arthritis which can range from those related to wear and tear of cartilage to those associated with inflammation resulting from an overactive immune system – autoimmune. Arthritis is categorized as one of the rheumatic diseases – conditions that are individual illnesses with differing features and treatments. Rheumatic diseases are similar in that they have a tendency to affect the joints, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons. Many rheumatic diseases have the potential to affect other internal body areas.

Arthritis can affect one or multiple joints and can occur suddenly or gradually over time. Symptoms can be constant or intermittent and may include pain, swelling, and stiffness. Both men and women can be affected with arthritis, as well as children. Approximately 350 million people worldwide have arthritis and nearly 40 million people in the United States are affected by arthritis.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis, some more common than others. A few types that are most prevalent include:

-Osteoarthritis
-Gout
-Rheumatoid Arthritis

Early diagnosis and treatment are important to minimize pain and disability.