What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a term used to describe a group of diseases that affect the joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissues. Characterized primarily by joint pain and stiffness, it is one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions and a leading cause of disability.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis, each with different causes and treatment methods. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA):
- Osteoarthritis: The most common form, OA occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time, leading to pain, swelling, and reduced motion in the affected joints.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: An autoimmune disorder, RA occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, starting with the lining of joints, leading to inflammation, pain, and eventually joint deformity.