What is Arthritis?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,233
    Certified senior advisor Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care explains what the common forms of arthritis are, treatment and prevention options available, tips on how to live with this disease or care for someone suffering from arthritis symptoms and what the Arthritis Foundation is doing to help.

    Marcio Puccioni Shields: Hello! I am Marcio Puccioni Shields, Area Vice President with the Arthritis Foundation, and today I am talking about arthritis.

    Arthritis refers to more than 100 different diseases that cause pain, swelling and limited movement in the joints and other parts of the muscular skeleton system. Many forms of arthritis are chronic, meaning that they will last a lifetime. The limitations caused by arthritis affects a person's quality of life, and some forms of arthritis can actually be life-threatening. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis.

    The foremost common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis and fibromyalgia. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease characterized by the breakdown of the joint cartilage. It is the most common form of arthritis affecting nearly 21 million Americans, most over the age of 45.

    Rheumatoid arthritis, also called RA is a systemic disease that affects the entire body and it's characterized by the inflammation of the membrane lining the joint which causes pain, stiffness, warmth, redness and swelling. In the United States, nearly 2.

    1 million people have rheumatoid arthritis and there are 2.

    5 times as many women than man with RA.

    Juvenile arthritis or JA affects children under the age of 18 and varies in its severity. It is systemic which affects a child's internal organs as well as the joints and is associated with very high fevers. Fibromyalgia, which affects mostly women is an arthritis-related condition characterized by widespread muscle pain and the presence of tender points or areas of the body that are particularly sensitive to pressure.

    According to the 2009 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 million Americans have doctor-diagnosed arthritis and by 2030, the number is estimated to grow to 67 million. Of those currently diagnosed, more than 21 million have arthritis related activity limitations. As a result arthritis cost the United States economy $128 billion in lost wages and productivity annually.

    The Arthritis Foundation, the only national not-for-profit organization that supports more than 110 types of arthritis and related conditions offers information and tools on our website at arthritis.

    org.

    You can learn more by checking out our other videos on arthritis including symptoms and warning signs.