Juvenile Arthritis and Other Rheumatic DiseasesArthritis and other rheumatic diseases are characterized by pain, swelling, and limited movement in joints and connective tissues in the body. More than 43 million people in the US suffer from arthritis in one form or another, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Arthritis, which literally means inflammation of a joint (where two or more bones meet), actually refers to more than 100 different diseases. Rheumatic diseases include any diseases that cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints or other supportive body structures, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. In fact, the group of arthritis diseases falls under the category of rheumatic diseases.
One in three American adults has arthritis or chronic joint discomfort, according to a 2002 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC found that nearly 70 million people per year have joint problems, which was previously estimated at 43 million people (including children). Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America. CDC experts advise people not to ignore the pain and stiffness in their joints, since these symptoms can be treated.
Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are often mistakenly associated with old age, because osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis) occurs more often among elderly persons. However, arthritis and other rheumatic diseases affect people of all ages. Arthritis affects over 285,000 children in the United States annually.
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