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Arthritis

About 60 percent of people with arthritis are women, and the risk increases with age. Other risk factors include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a history of joint injuries or serious infections
  • Working in a job that requires repetitive motions
  • A family history of arthritis

The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia and gout.

What you can do to treat arthritis

Arthritis cannot be cured, but early detection and treatment may help improve your quality of life. You can delay the most damaging effects if you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Follow a moderate daily exercise plan
  • Avoid activities that could lead to injury
  • Protect joints from repetitive overuse

Treatment choices also vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. Most options focus on controlling pain and minimizing joint damage. Treatment may include:

  • Medication 
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Braces, splints or other joint protection aids
  • Weight loss
  • Alternative care, such as acupuncture 
  • Surgery

How to talk to your doctor

Talk to your doctor if you're at risk for developing arthritis to determine if there are steps you can take to manage it. Make sure to tell your doctor of any persistent or frequent pain and stiffness in your joints.

Different types of arthritis come with different symptoms. Your doctor may use a combination of methods to determine if your joint inflammation is a form of arthritis. Diagnosis includes review of your medical history and may involve a physical exam, X-rays, blood work or other lab tests.

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