Arthritis means joint inflammation, but the term is used to describe around 200 conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissue. It is a rheumatic condition.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Other common rheumatic conditions related to arthritis include gout, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Rheumatic conditions tend to involve pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling in and around one or more joints. The symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly. Certain rheumatic conditions can also involve the immune system and various internal organs of the body.
Some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus (SLE), can affect multiple organs and cause widespread symptoms.
Arthritis is more common among adults aged 65 years or older, but it can affect people of all ages, including children.
Treatment for arthritis aims to control pain, minimize joint damage, and improve or maintain function and quality of life.
A range of medications and lifestyle strategies can help achieve this and protect joints from further damage.
Treatment might involve:
physical or occupational therapy
splints or joint assistive aids
patient education and support
surgery, including joint replacement