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May is Arthritis Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn more about a condition that affects approximately 1 in 4 adults in the U.S., which is over 54.4 million men and women.
The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis involve the joints. The two main types of arthritis — osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis — damage joints in different ways. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels.
Severe arthritis, particularly if it affects your hands or arms, can make it difficult for you to do daily tasks. Arthritis of weight-bearing joints can keep you from walking comfortably or sitting up straight. In some cases, joints may become twisted and deformed. Arthritis pain can interfere with your daily activities and enjoyment of life.
You can find plenty of advice about easing the pain of arthritis with exercise, medication and stress reduction, but how do you know what will work for you? Here are some tips on exercise and other common concerns when coping with arthritis symptoms and arthritis pain.