Health Conditions : Arthritis
Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint.
In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other, similar conditions that affect the joints.
Arthritis affects people of all ages, including children.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the 2 most common types of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness.
Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder.
The most commonly affected joints are those in the:
- In the UK, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 400,000 people.
- It often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old. Women are 3 times more likely to be affected than men.
- In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling.
- The outer covering (synovium) of the joint is the first place affected.
- This can then spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint's shape. This may cause the bone and cartilage to break down.
- People with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs in their body.