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Claudia Jackson (RN)
Dr Waseem Mohi
Next Review: Sep 1, 2025
Arthritis isn’t a single disease, but rather a term used to describe a range of diseases that affect the joints.
Common symptoms of arthritis include:
There are many different types of arthritis, but the two most common are:
Osteoarthritis is by far the most common type of arthritis and affects around 8.75 million people in the UK. Osteoarthritis can affect anyone, but it is more common if you are:
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it is most common in the hands, spine, knees, and hips.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that lines the joint starts to roughen and thin out causing swelling and inflammation. When the body tries to repair the damage, it leads to the formation of osteophytes, tiny growths of new bone that develop at the ends of bones. Loss of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, stretching the joint capsule and pushing the bones out of their natural position.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects around 1% of the population in the UK.
It is more common in:
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues or organs. In Rheumatoid arthritis, this causes pain and inflammation in the joints, damage to the bone and joint tissue, and changes to the shape of the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis normally starts in the small joints of the hands and fingers before progressing to larger joints. It can also cause damage to other parts of the body such as the heart, lungs, nerves, eyes, and skin. Early treatment for rheumatoid arthritis can help prevent permanent joint damage.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
There is currently no cure for arthritis and treatment involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medical treatments, supportive treatments, or surgery.
If your symptoms are mild, they may improve with some simple changes to your lifestyle. Some lifestyle changes that can help reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
For more severe symptoms, you may need medications to manage your symptoms. Some medications for symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
In addition to medication, supportive treatments can help. These include:
In cases of severe arthritis where medication and supportive treatments haven’t worked, surgery may be necessary. This may include:
Like osteoarthritis, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, and treatment is aimed at managing symptoms and preventing long-term damage to joints and organs.
Treatment options include medication, supportive treatments, and surgery.
Medical treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include:
Supportive treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include:
Surgical treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include:
There are many different types of arthritis, and the right treatment will depend on your diagnosis. Arthritis is a long-term, but normally manageable condition that needs early treatment to prevent it from getting worse. If you have symptoms of arthritis, speak to a doctor about the right treatment for you.
Arthritis Foundation: What Is Arthritis? June 9th 2022 (Accessed October 10th 2022)
NHS: Overview. Arthritis September 8th 2022 (Accessed October 10th 2022)
Versus Arthritis: Arthritis (Accessed October 10th 2022)
PubMed: Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Brief Overview of the Treatment March 2019 (Accessed October 10th 2022)
National Institute of for Health and Care Excellence: Rheumatoid arthritis. How common is it? April 2020 (Accessed October 10th 2022)
NHS: Osteoarthritis treatment August 19th 2019 (Accessed October 10th 2022)
NHS: Treatment. Rheumatoid arthritis August 28th 2019 Accessed October 10th 2022)
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