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Arthritis refers to more than 100 different diseases that cause pain, swelling, and limited movement in joints and connective tissues throughout the body. It is usually chronic, meaning that it lasts a lifetime. Specific causes for most forms of arthritis are not yet known. How the disease progresses also varies depending on the form of arthritis. The two most prevalent forms of arthritis are:
Osteoarthritis - A degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage that covers and protects the end of the bones in the joint deteriorates, causing pain and loss of movement as bone begins to rub against the bone.
Rheumatoid arthritis - A systemic disease that affects the entire body. It is characterized by the inflammation of membrane lining the joints, which causes pain, warmth, redness, and swelling. The chronic inflammation causes deterioration of the joint, pain, and limited movement.