Understanding Arthritis and Diet

Derived from Greek and Latin roots, the word "arthritis" appropriately means joint inflammation. Arthritis affects roughly one fifth of the population of the United States and is the main reason for disability in people over the age of 55 living in industrialized parts of the world. It is not a single disease, however - there are roughly 100 different types of arthritis.

The most common forms are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with both types affecting the musculoskeletal system, particularly the joints. Symptoms of osteoarthritis can include joint pain, progressive stiffness without visible swelling, and chills or fever during activity.

People who develop rheumatoid arthritis may experience similar symptoms: painful (and visible) swelling, and stiffness that occurs in the joints of fingers, wrists, arms or legs on both sides of the body particularly upon waking. Children developing juvenile RA can experience recurrent fever, reduced appetite and weight loss, anemia, a blotchy rash on the extremities, or joint stiffness and swelling.

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