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What Is Arthritis?

What Is Arthritis?


Arthritis affects 54.4 million US adults, about 1 in 4, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. The most common form of the disease in the United States is osteoarthritis. Other common types include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia, says the CDC.


Different types of arthritis have different symptoms. The pain and stiffness in and around one or more joints are common symptoms for most types of arthritis. Depending on the type, symptoms can develop suddenly or gradually over time. Symptoms may even come and go, or persist over time.


What You Should Do

In inflammatory types of arthritis, it is important to control inflammation. Treatment can include medications, non-drug therapies such as physical therapy or patient education, and sometimes surgery. There are a lot of things you can do to manage your arthritis. The day-to-day things you choose to do to manage your condition and stay healthy are “self-management” strategies and activities. Physical activity is another simple and effective, non-drug way to relieve arthritis pain. Being physically active can reduce pain, improve function, mood, and quality of life for adults with arthritis. You will also need to talk to your doctor if you have joint pain and other arthritis symptoms. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. For people who are overweight or obese, losing weight will reduce stress on joints, particularly weight bearing joints like the hips and knees. Choose activities that are easy on the joints like walking, bicycling, and swimming. These low-impact activities have a low risk of injury and do not twist or put too much stress on the joints.

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