Arthritis is a disease characterised by inflammation of one or more joints. This inflammation may be the body’s response to an injury (such as a fracture), an infection (either viral or bacterial), or gradual wear and tear on the joints. Arthritis is also common in the skin disease psoriasis as well as in autoimmune disorders, such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Symptoms include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and redness that last more than two weeks.
There are more than 100 kinds of arthritis, with many different causes. Four of the most common types are:
Osteoarthritis – associated with the ageing process and joint deterioration;
Rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disorder;
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis – attacks younger people and affects joints and organs; and
Gout – a metabolic disorder associated with excess uric acid.
Septic arthritis is a less common type but can cause serious joint damage.