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Arthritis is actually more than 100 conditions that affect the joints or tissues around the joint. Arthritis involves inflammation and swelling of one or more joints often causing pain and stiffness. Some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, also affect the immune system and some internal organs of the body.

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus and fibromyalgia are the most common types of arthritis, costing at least $100 billion in direct medical costs each year. If you have joint pain and swelling, talk to your doctor. Different kinds of arthritis may affect one joint or many, as well as other parts of the body including eyes and skin. A history, physical exam, blood tests and X-rays can help diagnose if you have arthritis and may determine which type.

Many adults with arthritis are prescribed opioid medicines, yet other pain medications are safer.

Most people with arthritis do not require treatment with opioid medications.

Some specific kinds of arthritis are best treated with specific medicines.

Rheumatoid arthritis can be treated much more effectively when treated early.

Physical activity can also decrease pain and improve physical function; however, one in three adults with arthritis are not active.

What you can do
  • Take the medications prescribed by your doctor.
  • Remain active—walk, swim, or ride a bike—to help maintain and improve strength, flexibility and endurance. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
  • Eat healthy foods and lose weight, if necessary.
  • Talk to your doctor if you become anxious or depressed.