May is Arthritis Awareness Month!
Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation in one or more joints.
There are over 100 different forms of arthritis. The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases.
Pain, which can vary in severity, is a common symptom in virtually all types of arthritis. Other symptoms include swelling, joint stiffness and aching around the joint(s). Arthritic disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can affect other organs in the body, leading to a variety of symptoms.
Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States. More than 20 million individuals with arthritis have severe, daily limitations in function. Frequent visits to the physician are common in individuals who have arthritis. Arthritis can make it very difficult for individuals to be physically active and some become home bound. There is no known cure for either rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.
Treatment options vary depending on the type of arthritis and include physical therapy, lifestyle changes (including exercise and weight control), orthopedic bracing, and medications. Joint replacement surgery may be required in eroding forms of arthritis. Medications can help reduce inflammation in the joint, which decreases pain. Moreover, by decreasing inflammation, the joint damage may be slowed.
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