Arthritis is common but not as well understood as most would think. “Arthritis” is not a single type of disease, it’s a casual way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are over 100 different types of arthritis and joint related conditions. It affects all people of all ages, sexes and races and it is the leading cause of disability in the United States. More than 50 million adults and approximately 300,000 children have developed some form of arthritis. It occurs frequently as an individual gets older and most common among women.
Common symptoms of arthritis joint diseases include swelling, stiffness, pain, and decreased ROM or range of motion. Symptoms can come and go and can be mild, moderate or severe. They can affect someone for years and intensify or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can produce chronic pain, inability to complete simple daily tasks and make it challenging to even walk or go upstairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint variations. These changes can be noticeable and demonstrate visible signs such as knobby finger joints. Sometimes the joint damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some forms of arthritis can also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin in additions to someone’s joints.