* Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints.
* Symptoms of arthritis include pain and limited function of joints. * Arthritis sufferers include men and women, children and adults. * A rheumatologist is a medical arthritis expert.
* Earlier and accurate diagnosis can help to prevent irreversible damage and disability. What is arthritis? What causes arthritis?
Arthritis is a joint disorder featuring inflammation. A joint is an area of the body where two different bones meet. A joint functions to move the body parts connected by its bones. Arthritis literally means inflammation of one or more joints. Arthritis is frequently accompanied byjoint pain. Joint pain is referred to asarthralgia. There are many types of arthritis (over 100 identified, and the number is growing). The types range from those related to wear and tear of cartilage (such as osteoarthritis) to those associated with inflammation resulting from an overactive immune system (such as rheumatoid arthritis). Together, the many types of arthritis make up the most common chronic illness in the United States. The causes of arthritis depend on the form of arthritis. Causes include injury (leading to osteoarthritis), metabolic abnormalities (such as gout andpseudogout), hereditary factors, the direct and indirect effect of infections (bacterial and viral), and a misdirected immune system with autoimmunity (such as in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus). Arthritis is classified as one of the rheumatic diseases. These are conditions that are different individual illnesses, with differing features, treatments, complications, and prognoses. They are similar in that they have a tendency to affect the joints, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons, and many have the potential to affect other internal body areas. What are risk factors for arthritis?
The major risk factors for most forms of arthritis are genes that are inherited from ancestors. Trauma-related arthritis is related to the risk of injury from specific activities. What are arthritis symptoms and signs?
Symptoms of arthritis include pain and limited function of joints. Inflammation of the joints from arthritis is characterized by joint stiffness, swelling, redness, and warmth. Tenderness of the inflamed joint can be present. Many of the forms of arthritis, because they are rheumatic diseases, can cause symptoms affecting various organs of the body that do not directly involve the joints. Therefore, symptoms in some patients with certain forms of arthritis can also includefever, gland swelling (swollen lymph nodes),weight loss, fatigue, feeling unwell, and even symptoms from abnormalities of organs such as the lungs, heart, or kidneys. Who is affected by arthritis?
Arthritis sufferers include men and women, children and adults. Approximately 350 million people worldwide have arthritis. Nearly 40 million people in the United States are affected by arthritis, including over 250,000 children! More than 27 million Americans have osteoarthritis. Approximately 1.3 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. More than half of those with arthritis are under 65 years of age. Nearly 60% of Americans with arthritis are women. How is arthritis diagnosed, and why is a diagnosis important? The first step in the diagnosis of arthritis is a meeting between the doctor and the patient. The doctor will review the history of symptoms, examine the joints for inflammation and deformity, as well as ask questions about or examine other parts of the body for inflammation or signs of diseases that can affect other body areas. Furthermore, certain blood, urine, joint fluid, and/or X-ray tests might be ordered. The diagnosis will be based on the pattern of symptoms, the distribution of the inflamed joints, and any blood and X-ray findings. Several visits may be necessary before the doctor can be certain of the diagnosis. A doctor with special training in arthritis and...