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Arthritis: Introduction

Arthritis is a general term for more than 100 diseases that cause inflammation, pain, stiffness, and swelling of joints.

Common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and septic arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is an ongoing, progressive disease that affects the joints as the cartilage of joints breaks down over time. Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints of the body with episodes of painful inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis also affects other organs of the body and can result in the destruction of joints, disability, and in severe cases, life threatening complications.

Septic arthritis is caused by the infection of a joint by microorganisms, such as bacteria or fungi. Septic arthritis can occur when microorganisms enter a joint through a wound in the skin. Septic arthritis can also be caused by microorganisms that spread to a joint from another infection in the body, such as tuberculosis, cellulitis, or a boil.

Symptoms of arthritis vary greatly depending on the type of arthritis, a person's age, medical history and other factors. Typical symptoms of all forms of arthritis include the inflammation, pain, stiffness, and swelling of joints. Complications of all forms of arthritis can include disability. For details about additional important complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of arthritis.

Making a diagnosis of arthritis begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. X-rays or MRI may be done to determine if there is joint or nerve damage.

Testing for rheumatoid arthritis includes a blood rheumatoid factor test. Other tests may complete blood test (CBC), C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

Testing for septic arthritis includes blood tests and an analysis of the "lubricating" fluid in the joints (synovial fluid) that checks for the presence of infectious microorganisms in the joint.

It is possible that a diagnosis of arthritis can be missed or delayed because some people may have no symptoms and because some forms of the disease progresses gradually. In addition, some symptoms may be similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information on diseases and conditions that can mimic arthritis, refer to misdiagnosis of arthritis.

Treatment for arthritis varies depending on the type of arthritis, severity of symptoms, the presence of complications, a person's age and medical history, and other factors. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured, but treatment can help to reduce symptoms and minimize destruction of joints and other complications. For details on treatments, refer to treatment of arthritis....more »

Arthritis: Arthritis-like symptoms usually refers to joint pain, joint redness, joint inflammation, joint swelling, and other joint symptoms. The causes obviously include arthritis (including all ...more »

Arthritis: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of arthritis may be delayed or missed because early symptoms may be mild and intermittent and develop slowly. In addition, some people do not experience symptoms in early stages of osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of arthritis can be similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions, such as aging, excessive exercise, general malaise, influenza, or ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Arthritis:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Arthritis. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Arthritis: Causes

Home Diagnostic Testing and Arthritis

Home medical tests possibly related to Arthritis:

Causes of Types of Arthritis:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Arthritis:

Review causes of types of Arthritis in more specific categories:

Review causes of more specific types of Arthritis:

Arthritis Treatments

Treatment of arthritis varies depending on the type of arthritis and other factors.

Septic arthritis is often curable with antibiotics if it is caused by a bacterial infection. Treatment may also include surgically opening up the affected joint to drain the infected synovial fluid.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, but with early recognition ...Arthritis Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Arthritis may include:

Review further information on Arthritis Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Arthritis

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Arthritis may include:

Arthritis: Animations

Medications or substances causing Arthritis:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Arthritis as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Arthritis

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Arthritis:

Arthritis: Deaths

Read more about causes and Arthritis deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Arthritis

Rare undiagnosed iron disorder causes various severe conditions: The rare "iron overload" disorder, hemochromatosis, can cause a variety of symptoms and result in various severe conditions that more »

Rare form of juvenile arthritis undiagnosed: The disease rheumatoid arthritis (i.e. juvenile arthritis) is fairly well known. But there is a rare form known as Still' more »

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's, whereas there are many other less more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer' more »

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are various possibilities, such as benign essential tremor, which is mostly more »

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are also various other causes. See causes of leg cramps or misdiagnosis of more »

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile more »

Psoriatic arthritis often undiagnosed cause of joint conditions: Patients with the skin condition psoriasis can also have the related arthritis subtype called "psoriatic arthritis". This arthritic condition tends to be overlooked, even in patients more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See more »

Arthritis: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Arthritis

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Arthritis:

Arthritis: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Arthritis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Arthritis listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Arthritis as a symptom include:

Article Excerpts about Arthritis

Arthritis means "joint inflammation" and refers to a group of diseases that cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of motion in the joints. "Arthritis" is often used as a more general term to refer to the more than 100 rheumatic diseases that may affect the joints but can also cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in other supporting structures of the body such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. Some rheumatic diseases can affect other parts of the body, including various internal organs. (Source: excerpt from Questions and Answers About Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: NIAMS)

Arthritis is an illness that can cause pain and swelling in your joints. Over time, the joint can become severely damaged. Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee. Some kinds of arthritis can cause problems in other organs, such as your eyes, or in your chest. It can affect your skin, too. (Source: excerpt from Do I have Arthritis: NIAMS)

Arthritis means "joint inflammation" and refers to a group of diseases that... (Source: excerpt from Questions and Answers About Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: NIAMS)

Arthritis is an illness that can cause pain and swelling in your joints. Over time,... (Source: excerpt from Do I have Arthritis: NIAMS)

Definitions of Arthritis:

Pain in the joint.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Inflammation of a joint or joints
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Inflammation of the joints; tends to be chronic.
- (Source - CRISP)

A disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints.
- (Source - National Cancer Institute)

Detailed list of causes of Arthritis

The list below shows some of the causes of Arthritis mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Arthritis?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Arthritis. Of the 224 causes of Arthritis that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 3 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 11 causes are "common" diseases
  • 5 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 15 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 196 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Arthritis:

The following list of conditions have 'Arthritis' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Arthritis or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Arthritis:

The following list of medical conditions have Arthritis or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

















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Causes of Arthritis Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Arthritis based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    What are the alternative names for Arthritis:

    Joint effusion, Joint pain or swelling or disorder, Arthropathy, Arthralgia
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Arthritis:

    Subtypes of Arthritis:

    Migratory arthritis (18 causes), Symptoms resembling arthritis (10 causes), Heberden's nodes (1 cause)

    Medical Conditions associated with Arthritis:

    Joint pain (773 causes), Arthritis-like symptoms (764 causes), Pain (6458 causes), Joint symptoms (1430 causes), Inflammatory symptoms (1736 causes), Skeletal symptoms (4109 causes), Sensations (6520 causes), Brain symptoms (2787 causes), Neurological symptoms (9575 causes), Sensory symptoms (7134 causes), Nerve symptoms (9132 causes), Musculoskeletal symptoms (6264 causes), Common symptoms (8589 causes), Body symptoms (5672 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes)

    Symptoms related to Arthritis:

    Joint pain (773 causes), Joint symptoms (1430 causes), Stiff joints (258 causes), Knuckle pain (16 causes), Stiff knuckles, Knee pain (122 causes), Ankle pain (56 causes), Hand pain (60 causes), Wrist pain (45 causes), Back pain (479 causes), Joint inflammation, Osteoarthritis (29 causes), Painful movement, Joint stiffness (258 causes), Immobility (26 causes), Joint swelling (128 causes)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Arthritis

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Arthritis and many other medical conditions:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Arthritis:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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