What is Arthritis?

When we think of arthritis the most common image that comes to mind is an older person with knees or hips that are worn out as a consequence of age. But the reality is that arthritis can affect anyone at any age.

The term “arthritis” means inflammation involving the joint (or joints) and is an umbrella term that encompasses a large number of different conditions.

The most common form of arthritis is Osteoarthritis. This is a disorder where the cartilage between the joints degenerates over time, leading to stiffness and pain.

But just as important are disorders which cause inflammation of multiple joints in the body, leading to pain, stiffness and swelling. These disorders include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis (spondyloarthropathy) and Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR). Separate from these conditions are rarer disorders such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Scleroderma and Myositis. Additionally, inflammatory conditions involving can involve blood vessels such as Giant Cell Arteritis (temporal arteritis) and vasculitis. Finally, conditions such as gout affect the joints through uric acid deposition leading to pain and swelling.

Rheumatologists manage all of these conditions, whether the disorder affects young or old, affects predominantly the muscles or the joints, or other areas of the body, such as the spine.

Our rheumatologists are committed to helping you take control of your arthritis, rather than your symptoms controlling your life. Our aim is to restore you to health through combinations of diet, exercise and pharmacological management. Importantly, part of regaining control is providing you with relevant information so that you can understand your condition better and work with us to improve your health. In these pages you will be able to find information specific to your condition, medications, diet and exercise.

Armed with this information, and a management plan formulated with your rheumatologist, you can take control of your symptoms, and start living again.