National Arthritis Month

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a joint disorder featuring inflammation. A joint is an area of the body where two different bones meet. A joint functions to move the body parts connected by its bones. Arthritis literally means inflammation of one or more joints.

What are some of the symptoms of arthritis?

Symptoms of arthritis include pain and limited function of joints. Inflammation of the joints from arthritis is characterized by joint stiffness, swelling, redness, and warm. Tenderness of the inflamed joint can be present.

How many people suffer from arthritis?

  • Arthritis sufferers include men and women, children and adults. Approximately 350 million people worldwide have arthritis. Nearly 40 million persons in the United States are affected by arthritis, including over a quarter million children!


  • More than 21 million Americans have osteoarthritis. Approximately 2.1 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.


  • More than half of those with arthritis are under 65 years of age. Nearly 60% of Americans with arthritis are women.

What is a rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the non-surgical treatment of rheumatic illnesses, especially arthritis.

Rheumatologists have special interests in unexplained rash, fever, arthritis, anemia, weakness, weight loss, fatigue, joint or muscle pain, autoimmune disease, and anorexia. They often serve as consultants, acting like detectives for other doctors.

For more information about arthritis, please see the Focus Topics on Arthritis Center.


Last Editorial Review: 5/1/2003




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