Arthritis affects the musculoskeletal system, specifically the joints. It is the main cause of disability among people over fifty-five years of age in industrialized countries. The word arthritis comes from the Greek arthron meaning "joint" and the Latin itis meaning "inflammation". What is arthritis? The US National Library of Medicine1 says that if you have trouble moving around or feel pain and stiffness in your body, you could have arthritis. In the majority of cases arthritis causes pain and swelling in the joints. Eventually a swollen joint can suffer severe damage. In some cases, arthritis can cause problems in the patient's eye, skin or other organs. What causes arthritis? If you have arthritis something goes wrong with the joint(s). What goes wrong depends on what type of arthritis you have. It could be that the cartilage is wearing away, a lack of fluid, autoimmunity (your body attacking itself), infection, or a combination of many factors. Arthritis Research UK3 says that most types of arthritis are caused by a combination of several factors working together. The following factors may contribute towards a higher arthritis risk: Your genetic makeup A physically demanding job, especially one with repetitive movements A previous injury Some infections or allergic reactions may cause short-term arthritis. When it is caused by an infection it is known as "reactive arthritis" For a number of people certain foods can either bring on arthritis symptoms, or make existing ones worse Obesity, which places extra strain on joints Arthritis may also be caused by autoimmune disease. Fast facts on arthritis Here are some key points about arthritis. More detail and supporting information is in the main article. Arthritis affects the joints and musculoskeletal system. Around 1 in every 5 American adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Arthritis is a term that covers over 100 medical conditions. The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, infectious arthritis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Most types of arthritis are caused by a combination of factors. These can include genetic makeup, a physically demanding job, previous injury, infection or allergies, certain foods, obesity, autoimmune disease. Physical therapy and occupational therapy can help maintain joint mobility and range of motion. Physical therapy has been shown to delay the need for surgical intervention in advanced cases 8. Occupational therapy can teach you how to reduce the strain on your joints. Doctors warn that inactivity could harm the health of most patients with arthritis or some kind of rheumatic disease. NSAIDs are the most commonly prescribed drugs for arthritis patients.