The word arthritis typically refers to the more than 100 diseases which affect the joints. People who have arthritis will usually experience some stiffness in the affected joint or feel pain as a result of inflammation. The most common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
Each of these has different causes, symptoms and treatments. These days they’re known collectively as rheumatic diseases (doctors no longer use the term "rheumatism") and if your GP refers you to a specialist, you’ll be seeing a rheumatologist.
Depending on your individual diagnosis, treatment will vary - it might be a combination of anti-inflammatory medication and exercise to relieve an aching joint, or it might be joint replacement surgery. The good news is that there have been enormous advances in the understanding and treatment of arthritis in the last 20 years so whatever your diagnosis, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue to get the most out of life.
Arthritis is a general term for the inflammatory diseases which affect the joints.