Basic Overview of Arthritis


Arthritis is a common term used for over 100 rheumatic diseases which is a pain, stiffness and/or swelling in joints, tendons, bones or muscles.  Some types of arthritis can affect internal organs and trigger other symptoms.  It’s a common condition among older (65+) population but younger and even children can experience it.  Statistically, more women (24.3%) are affected than men (18.7%) in all generations.

Types of Arthritis

Among all these types, Osteoarthritis is the most common type with rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus and gout develops often.

What are the symptoms?

There are several signs of arthritis and the symptoms you have, will be different based on the type of arthritis you have. Nevertheless, typical arthritis symptoms consist of:

  • joint pain and stiffness
  • inflammation in and around the joints
  • limited joints mobility
  • warmth and redness of the skin over the affected joint
  • weakness and muscle loss

What Causes Arthritis?

There are number of symptoms and causes for all type of arthritis.  Some may be hereditary and genetics or may be caused by an injury or infection.  For example, some type of virus such as flu or cold could cause it in some people. Osteoarthritis might be brought on by deterioration of the joints or by damage to a joint.

Age and sex lead to likelihood of getting arthritis. A number of the disorders are more usual among older people while some such as osteoarthritis tend to be more common in women after menopause.

Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and fibromyalgia tend to occur more among women. Rheumatoid arthritis happens 2 to 3 times more often in women than in men.

Gout is more common in males compared to females. After menopause, the occurrence of gout in women starts to increase. This may be as a result of hormonal variations or genetic differences.

Furthermore, some ethnicities have higher risks.  For instance, Lupus happens more in African Americans and Hispanics than in Caucasians.


This is not a curable disease and is considered as a chronic condition.  The regular treatments that are relevant for the majority types of arthritis consist of rest, physical therapy, exercise, and healthy diet.  Some may use water therapy, heath & cold therapy or devices such as braces to help with the pain.

Medication is used for some arthritic conditions as a way to manage and reduce the symptoms.  However, over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil or Aleve are also commonly used by many to relieve pain.

Patients with severe cases may be advised to have surgery to reduce pain or replace joints with prosthetic for better movement.

Check out this short video for overview.

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Center for Disease Control (CDC)

NHS Choices

News Medical

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