There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, but all have one thing in common: These different diseases affect joints. Many of them also affect the areas and structures surrounding joints. Perhaps more important, arthritis is painful and can interfere with your ability to do the things that you enjoy, from cooking a meal to playing golf.
The number of people with arthritis is staggering. In 2005, 66 million adults in the United States — nearly 1 in 3 — had either been diagnosed with arthritis or were living with undiagnosed chronic joint pain and other symptoms. Although the risk of some types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, increases with age, more than half of those affected by all types of arthritis are younger than 65. In fact, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in Americans older than 15.
It doesn’t have to be that way. If you have arthritis, there are steps you can take, starting today, to protect your joints, reduce pain, and improve mobility. The exact strategy depends on the type of arthritis you have, but for most people, there is reason for optimism.
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