In the United States, as many as 58.5 million people have arthritis. It is one of the leading causes of disability in the workforce and can severely impact the quality of life of people who suffer from it. 
If you have arthritis or know someone who does, it can be vital to understand the condition and how it can affect the rest of your health. You can learn more about what arthritis is, how it can present itself, and what you can do to diminish symptoms below.
1. Arthritis Is an Inflammatory Condition
Arthritis is a disease that causes inflammation and pain in your joints, making it difficult for you to move and go about your life as you otherwise would.
Joints have cushions made of soft tissues that stop your bones from rubbing against one another. Arthritis can break down these tissues, often leading to severe pain.
2. There Are Many Types of Arthritis
People assume there is only one general type of arthritis, but that is not the case. There are actually a few that can impact your health differently.
The most prevalent type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, affecting up to 32.5 million adults in the United States. It causes wear and tear on the cartilage in the joints, leading to inflammation and pain. 
Juvenile arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects young people, usually younger than 16. In this condition, the immune system attacks the tissues around the joints
Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory condition that develops in people who have psoriasis, an autoimmune disorder that leads to skin irritation.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious condition in which the immune system attacks the synovial membranes found in your joints.
Another common type of arthritis is gout. It causes uric acid crystals to form in the joints, leading to pain.
3. It Can Affect Your Hands and More
Most people think of having painful hands when they think of arthritis, but it is a condition that can also affect other parts of your body. Some common areas are the:
- Lower back
The pain can range from mild to severe, with rheumatoid arthritis being the most likely type to lead to work disability. In fact, 20% to 30% of people with rheumatoid arthritis become unable to work in the first three years after they are diagnosed with this condition. 
4. Staying Active Helps
Although it can be challenging to stay active when you face the pain of arthritis in your joints, it is crucial that you avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Being active can help reduce joint pain and increase strength and flexibility, making it an essential tool when combating arthritis symptoms. Studies show that people who are less active tend to have more severe joint pain than those who stay active. 
A few low-impact activities that can help include walking, swimming, and biking.
5. Weather Plays a Role
Although changes in the weather do not affect the disease’s progression, they can impact the pain you feel. Many people with arthritis feel increased pain on the days leading up to rain and during the rainy days themselves. This can be a result of barometric pressure dropping, which can cause inflamed tissue to expand, leading to more pain.
6. Children Can Get Arthritis
The majority of people who get arthritis are adults, but children can also suffer from it. As many as 300,000 children in the United States have arthritis, with 50,000 of these suffering from juvenile arthritis. 
7. Symptoms Vary
Arthritis can present itself with a variety of symptoms, including:
- Joint pain, tenderness, or stiffness
- Restricted joint movement
- Warm or red skin over the affected joint
- Muscle weakness
The type of arthritis you have will impact your symptoms and pain level.
8. Treating Arthritis
While there is no cure for arthritis, there are ways of treating it that can help lower inflammation and pain levels.
One method of treatment is to use medications, such as anti-inflammatory and pain medications, which can help alleviate arthritis symptoms. For rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, one type of medication that shows promise is biologics.
Physical therapy can help you regain strength, mobility, and range of motion in the affected joints. Similarly, an occupational therapist can help you learn how to adjust your daily activities to lessen your arthritis pain.
Therapeutic injections such as cortisone can help you find temporary relief from the pain and inflammation. For arthritis in certain joints, like the knees, viscosupplementation can be a good choice because it uses lubricant injections to allow your joints to move more smoothly.
Surgery can be an option for the most severe instances of arthritis, including fusing bones together, immobilizing a joint, or replacing a damaged joint with an artificial one.
9. Arthritis Can Be Genetic
There may be genetic factors involved in several types of arthritis. For example, the mutation of collagen genes can cause osteoarthritis. People who have a particular gene are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis and to have more severe symptoms.
Ankylosing spondylitis, which causes inflammation in the spinal joints, can also have a hereditary element. There are genetic markers that are more often present in people who have this kind of condition.
Experts Make a Difference
If you are struggling with arthritis and want to ensure you can get relief from the symptoms while also learning to manage daily tasks in ways that do not aggravate pain, the best thing to do is to turn to experts. The right doctor will be able to diagnose the type of arthritis you have and help you find the best possible treatment.