What Does It Mean to Have Arthritis?

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Question: What does it mean to have arthritis?

Doctors often tell patients they have arthritis, presuming the patients will understand what that diagnosis means. But unless you've looked into this condition before, chance are you may not know what arthritis means, or what it means to have the diagnosis of arthritis.

Answer: The word arthritis is from the Greek words for joint (arthro) and inflammation (-itis).

Quite literally, arthritis means joint inflammation.

There are many causes of joint inflammation, meaning there are many different types of arthritis. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, more commonly referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis. Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis and gouty arthritis.

What should I do if I am diagnosed with arthritis?
Being told you have arthritis does not necessarily mean a lifetime of joint pain and problems. Depending on the severity of the condition your doctor can make appropriate treatment recommendations. Treatment for arthritis depends on the type of arthritis, the severity of the problem, and previous response to treatments.

If you are diagnosed with arthritis, ask you doctor some specific questions about your condition:

    Knowing the answer to these questions can help you understand what treatments might be appropriate for your condition.

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