One in three adult Americans suffer from some form of arthritis and the disease affects about twice as many women as men.
Arthritic diseases include rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, which are autoimmune diseases; septic arthritis, caused by joint infection; and the more common osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease. Arthritis can be caused from strains and injuries caused by repetitive motion, sports, overexertion, and falls. Unlike the autoimmune diseases, osteoarthritis largely affects older people and results from the degeneration of joint cartilage. Other forms are discussed below.
Arthritic joints can be sensitive to weather changes. The increased sensitivity is thought to be caused by the affected joints developing extra nerve endings in an attempt to protect the joint from further damage.
Signs and symptoms
All arthritides feature pain, which is generally worse in the morning and on initiating movement, and resolves in the course of time. In elderly people and children, the pain may not be the main feature, and the patient simply moves less (elderly) or refuse to use the affected limb (children).
When faced with joint...