Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Cartilage between the bones gradually wastes away and degenerates, leading to painful rubbing of bone on bone in the joints. It may also cause joints to fall out of their natural positions (misalignment). The most frequently affected joints are in the hands, spine, knees and hips. Osteoarthritis mostly affects people aged between 40 and 60, it grows more common with age. Around 12% of people over 65 are affected.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the main type of inflammatory arthritis. It is a chronic condition identified by pain and swelling in the joints, leading to reduction of movement, and the breakdown of bone and cartilage. Affecting between 1% and 3% of the population, it usually starts when people are between the ages of 30 and 50, and women are affected three times more often than men.
The cause of arthritis is not fully known. One theory is that some people are genetically predisposed to developing the disease, but this is not yet proven.
Factors that may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis include:
- obesity (which puts added stress on joints),
- jobs that involve repetitive movements of a particular joint, or
- previous damage to joint, such as from a sports injury.
Rheumatoid arthritis is thought to be caused by a fault in the immune system that causes the body to attack its own tissues. This may be inherited genetically.
Other sources of information for these topics.
Arthritis Foundation Home Page
A voluntary health agency covering all arthritis and related conditions.
About Arthritis - Rheumatoid Arthritis - Osteoarthritis - Related
Resource of information about arthritis including feature articles, chat, bulletin board and newsletter.
Online Pharmacy Information
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