Arthritis is a very common ailment but not well understood. The word arthritis does not indicate a single disease but rather it refers to joint pain or joint disease. 100 different types exist. People of all ages, sex and race can develop arthritis. It is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some form of joint pain or disease. It is common among women and occurs more as people get older. Symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion (ROM). Symptoms can come and go, they can be mild, moderate or severe. They can stay the same for years, but can get worse over time. In severe cases it may result in chronic pain, the inability to do daily chores and be difficult to walk or climb stairs. It can cause permanent joint damage and changes. These changes might be visible, i.e. knobby finger joints, but usually can only be seen on x-rays. There are some types of arthritis that affect the eyes, heart, kidneys, lungs, and skin.
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