Arthritis affects hundreds of millions of people across the globe. The Arthritis Foundation¨ notes that more than 50 million adults in the United States have some type of arthritis, while the European League Against Rheumatism estimates that rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis affect more than 120 million people in the European Union. In Canada, the Canadian Community Health Survey found that 16 percent of Canadians age 15 and older were affected by arthritis.
The Arthritis Foundation notes that arthritis is not a single disease. In fact, the word arthritis is something of an umbrella term and an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. While these conditions may produce some common symptoms, such as swelling, pain and stiffness, learning to distinguish between some common types of arthritis can help men and women manage their conditions more effectively.
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