Arthritis literally means joint inflammation. Arthritis is not a single disease.
Arthritis refers to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases and other conditions that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints.
The two most common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Arthritis can affect anyone at any age, including children.
The incidence of arthritis increases with age, but nearly three out of every five sufferers are under the age of 65.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, results from wear and tear.
The pressure of gravity causes physical damage to the joints and surrounding tissues, leading to:
- Decreased function
Initially, osteoarthritis is non-inflammatory and its onset is subtle and gradual, usually involving one or only a few joints.
The joints most often affected are the:
Rheumatoid arthritis has several special features that make it different from other types of arthritis.
For example, rheumatoid arthritis generally occurs in a symmetrical pattern, meaning that if one knee or hand is involved, the other one also is.
The disease often affects the wrist joints and the finger joints closest to the hand.
It can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints.
In addition, people with rheumatoid arthritis may have fatigue, occasional fevers and a general sense of not feeling well.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects people differently.
For some people, it lasts only a few months or a year or two and goes away without causing any noticeable damage.
Other people have mild or moderate forms of the disease, with periods of worsening symptoms, called flares and periods in which they feel better, called remissions.
Still others have a severe form of the disease that is active most of the time, lasts for many years or a lifetime and leads to serious joint damage and disability.
Although rheumatoid arthritis can have serious effects on a person's life and well-being, current Kinesiology treatment strategies and a balance between rest and exercise, allow people living with the disease to lead active and productive lives.
Some common symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis include:
- Tender, warm, swollen joints
- Symmetrical pattern of affected joints
- Joint inflammation often affecting the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand
- Joint inflammation sometimes affecting other joints, including the:
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