Arthritis is arthritis can cause informal way of referring to more than 100 types of joint diseases that affect 53 million adults and 300,000 children in the U. Arthritis is very common but is not well understood. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis.
It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs.
Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints. Over time, joints can lose strength and pain may become chronic. If joint symptoms are severe, causing limited mobility and affecting quality of life, some of the above management strategies may be helpful, but joint replacement may be necessary. Osteoarthritis can prevented by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding injury and repetitive movements. A healthy immune system is protective.