What is it?
Arthritis is a term used to describe more than 100 diseases that are characterized by damage to one or more joints. This may be due to the body’s response to an injury (such as a fracture) or an infection (viral, bacterial, or fungal). It may be due to gradual wear and tear on the joints or or due to an autoimmune disorder. A patient may have more than one type of arthritis. Symptoms include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and redness that last more than two weeks.

Arthritis affects both sexes and all ethnicities. Most types are more common in adults, but arthritis can occur at any age. Common types of arthritis include:
Osteoarthritis – associated with the aging process, joint damage, and joint deterioration; it is the most common form of arthritis, affecting about 20 million people in the United States.
Rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disorder that affects about 2 million people in the U.S.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis – found in about 50,000 children under the age of 16 in the U.S. It may affect one or more joints, organs and can cause eye inflammation. Gout – causes about 5% of all cases of arthritis. It is a disorder associated with excess uric acid that deposits needle-like crystals into affected joints, especially the patient’s big toe.
Septic arthritis – a less common type of arthritis that is caused by an infection in a joint. It can cause serious joint damage in a short period of time.
(2005 December 29, Updated). Arthritis Advice [27 paragraphs]. National Institute on Aging [On-line information]. Available FTP: Related Pages
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Conditions: Autoimmune disorders