arthritis, meaning and causes



Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and swelling in a joint.

In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other related conditions that affect the joints.

Arthritis affects people of all ages, including children.

Types of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting almost 9 million people.It develops most often in people over the age of 40.

It’s also more common in women and people with a family history of the disorder.

But it can occur at any age as a result of injury or be associated with other joint diseases such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness.As the lining of cartilage begins to harden and thin, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder.

This can cause swelling and the formation of bone extensions called osteophytes.

Severe cartilage loss can cause bone to rub against bone, changing the shape of the joint and forcing the bones out of their normal position.

The most commonly affected joints are:

Learn more about osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis affects over 400,000 people in the UK.

It often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old.Women are affected three times more often than men.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the affected joints, causing pain and swelling.

The outer covering (synovium) of the joint is the first site affected.

This can then spread through the joint and lead to further swelling and a change in shape of the joint. This can break bones and cartilage.People with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs in their body.

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