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Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis

Understanding Arthritis

Contrary to popular belief Arthritis is not a single disease but more accurately it’s a group of over 100 diseases and conditions that can cause joint pain and inflamation. The two most common distinct forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is estimated that by the year 2020 there will be as many as 59 million people suffering from the disease in the United States.

The most common arthritis symptoms are joint pain, swelling, stiffness and sensitivity. It can affect a person of any age and around 3 out of 5 sufferers are under the age of 65.

Osteoarthritis is sometimes called degenerative arthritis. This is because it tends to be common in joints that are worn or damaged. The most common symptoms of this form are pain, swelling, stiffness and sensitivity. It can affect any joints in the body but it most commonly occurs in the hands, hips, knees and spine.

Rheumatoid arthritis is actually an autoimmune disease caused by the bodies own immune system. Exactly what causes the human immune system to adversely affect the body in this way isn’t known but recent research has identified some of the most common factors. These include environmental factors, possibly contraceptive use and genetics have been found to play a part.

Although rheumatoid artthritis tends to affect the joints it can also affect key organs including the lungs. It is estimated that between 15% and 25% of those afflicted will experience symptoms other than the common joint related problems.

Various forms of treatment can help to manage the disease. It is recommended that you consult a doctor or a specialist such as a rheumatologist as early as possible. They will provide an expert diagnosis and outline the various treatments available which will include some very effective over the counter remedies. Ultimately it may become necessary to consider joint surgery, but this is generally only used as a last resort.

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