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Arthritis encompasses more than 100 different conditions that affect joints, the surrounding tissues and other connective tissues causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems and the nation’s most common cause of disability.

Approximately 50 million U.S. adults (about 1 of 5) report having been diagnosed with arthritis by a doctor. As the U.S. population ages, the number of adults with arthritis is expected to increase sharply to 67 million by 2030.

picture of woman and doctor

The most common types of arthritis include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Juvenile arthritis


Osteoarthritis (also called degenerative joint disease) is the most common form of arthritis. It usually affects people after middle age and is characterized by gradual loss of cartilage of the joints. Unlike some other forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects only joints. Osteoarthritis gradually worsens with time and no cure exists, but treatment can relieve pain and help you remain active.

Visit the Medline Plus external link website to learn more about osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory form of arthritis that can result in weakness, loss of mobility and eventually destruction and deformity of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect other parts of the body besides the joints and often begins at a younger age than osteoarthritis. Symptoms include swelling and redness in joints, fatigue, weight loss and sometimes fever.

Visit the Arthritis Foundation external link for more information on rheumatoid arthritis.

Juvenile Arthritis

picture of kids in playground

Approximately one in every 1,000 children develops some type of juvenile arthritis. These disorders can affect children at any age, although they are uncommon in the first six months of life. There are various types of childhood arthritis, which can last from several months to many years.

The most common type is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Juvenile arthritis (JA) is an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger. Some research points toward a genetic predisposition, which means the combination of genes a child receives from family members, may cause the onset of arthritis when triggered by other factors.

For more information on Juvenile Arthritis visit the Arthritis Foundation. external link

Visit the Arthritis Foundation external link website to learn more about the different types of Arthritis.

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