|Arthritis or rheumatism?
Arthritis and rheumatism (ROO-mah-tism) are often used interchangeably. Arthritis is a term that implies damage or inflammation in one or more joints, while rheumatism is a general term that refers to any pain or ache originating from the muscles, joints, bones, or other parts of the musculoskeletal (muhsk-you-loh-SKEHL-ih-tal) system.
Arthritis is inflammation of joints due to infectious, genetic, or degenerative causes. The term relates to more than 170 (one hundred seventy) different rheumatic diseases that affect joints, muscles, and connective tissue.
|Diet and nutrition
Maintaining a healthy diet is important for everyone, but some arthritis patients can help reduce pain and discomfort by watching what they eat. Although no specific food has been targeted as a cause of arthritis, it's known that foods can alter the function of your immune system and some medications can affect the absorption of important vitamins and minerals.
It's common for older adults to suffer from some form of arthritis, but children can often be stricken with the disease. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or JRA (J-R-A), is classified separately from adults because the course of the disease in children is usually different than in adults.
Osteoarthritis (aw-stee-oh-are-THRYE-tis), a degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis, afflicting some 20 million Americans. Osteoarthritis largely affects cartilage, causing it to fray, wear, ulcerate, and in extreme cases, to disappear entirely, leaving a bone-on-bone joint.
Psoriatic (sohr-ee-AT-ick) arthritis, a less common form of arthritis, is a long-lasting condition that affects the skin and nails and produces joint inflammation.
Rheumatoid (ROO-muh-toyd) arthritis is a chronic disease in which various joints in your body are inflamed, leading to swelling, pain, stiffness, and the possible loss of function.
|Sex and pregnancy
Arthritis can take a toll on your body, but with proper treatment you can maintain a healthy sexual relationship. If your partner is concerned that sexual activity may be painful for you, you may both begin to avoid sex altogether, which could create unwanted tension.
Although it's impossible to cure arthritis, you can successfully cope with the disease with the help of a physician and other specialists. Because most forms of arthritis attack your joints, the prime objective of treatment is to prevent joint destruction.