Joint Health Basics: Understanding Arthritis Symptoms, Causes, Treatments and More

Medically Reviewed by Carolin Schneider, MD

Photo Courtesy: [ljubaphoto/E+/Getty Images]

Arthritis is a group of joint disorders that cause mild to severe inflammation, stiffness and pain. In general, arthritis affects older adults, and some forms are simply a natural part of the aging process. Arthritis symptoms are seen in nearly a quarter of elderly Americans, with more than 50 million people affected. The condition can limit your range of motion and cause pain that’s mild or severe. Arthritis symptoms tend to be more pronounced among older adults due to the natural aging process.

There are over 100 types of arthritis that occur due to a variety of reasons. Some result from underlying conditions like autoimmune diseases, infections or viruses, while others happen due to injury or increasing age. Depending on the cause, arthritis can also be a lifelong condition that has no cure. In some cases, however, certain types of arthritis are treatable or can even resolve themselves.

Arthritis is one of the most widespread chronic conditions in the world. The most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and juvenile arthritis. Moreover, some arthritis types run in the family, so there’s a possibility that you may develop the types of arthritis that your parents or immediate family members experienced.