Arthritis

Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint.  The two most common types of arthritis, are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

Over 8 million people in the UK are affected by Osteoarthritis.  It most commonly develops in people who are over 50 years of age.  However, it can occur at any age because of an injury or another joint-related condition.

Osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This leads to movement becoming more difficult than usual, which causes pain and stiffness.

The cartilage lining of the joint can then wear thin and tissues within the joint can become more active. This activity leads to swelling and the formation of bony spurs, called osteophytes.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage (connective tissue) between the bones gradually erodes, causing bone in the joints to rub together.  The most commonly affected are those in the small joints in the hands, knees, and hips.

Rheumatoid arthritis

By contrast, rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease.   It affects around 400,000 people in the UK, mainly woman aged 40-50.  Its symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints most commonly affect the hands, feet, and wrists.  Times, when the symptoms become works, are known as flare-ups.  With treatment is possible to decrease the number of flare-ups and prevent long-term damage to the joints.

Further information

For more detailed information about osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis check out the NHS, Research and Care websites.

Do you have a parent or relative with arthritis? Do you have some experience or tips you would like to share with others, or would you like to see what others are talking about? Go to the Age Space Forum.