What Causes Arthritis?

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Arthritis is a general term for a group of painful conditions that involve inflammation and stiffness of the joints. The different types of arthritis can occur in any joint in the body, including the hands, shoulders, knees, hips and ankles. As a degenerative condition, it’s the primary cause of disability in the U.S., and more than 50 million adults are affected. The condition develops more often at older ages and in women, but people of any age and gender are susceptible to it. In fact, the U.S. currently has about 300,000 cases of children with some form of the disease.

Arthritis occurs for many reasons, depending on the type. Understanding the causes for the different types may not help you avoid developing it, but it can help you recognize the early signs of the disease. Early treatment gives you an edge in fighting the joint degeneration that goes with every form of arthritis.