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General information about arthritis

How many people have arthritis?

There are 10 million people living with arthritis in the UK. One in five of the adult population in the UK has arthritis.

Does arthritis affect young people?

Arthritis affects people of all ages. There are 12,000 children in the UK with arthritis and approximately 27,000 people living with arthritis are under the age of 25.

Do many people visit their GP because of their arthritis?

One in five GP visits involves the symptoms of arthritis, such as joint pain, stiffness, fatigue and reduced mobility.

What’s the worst thing about living with arthritis?

Arthritis Care’s OA Nation report found that 81 per cent of the people surveyed are in constant pain or are limited in their scope to perform everyday tasks.

How do I know if I have arthritis?

For most people, arthritis causes discomfort, pain and stiffness in one or more joint and causes fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit your GP who will be able to tell you if you have arthritis by initially sending you for an X-ray or blood test. You might be referred to a specialist consultant if finding a diagnosis is more difficult.

Is there a cure for arthritis?

At the moment, there is no cure for arthritis (except gout). However, there are many ways of treating the symptoms of arthritis. There is also much you can do to protect your joints and keep mobile with drugs, therapies and self-management techniques, such as by maintaining a healthy diet and taking regular exercise .

Does the weather affect my arthritis?

The links between arthritis and the weather are inconclusive. There is no overwhelming evidence to support this and information has been anecdotal and subjective. Many people with arthritis say that their joints ache before a storm, and, according to experts, this is due to a drop in pressure and a rise in the humidity causing pain and stiffness in the joints. However, a change in the weather will not cause arthritis, but can worsen the symptoms.

Is arthritis hereditary?

There are 200 types of arthritis. The majority of types of arthritis are not hereditary. However, if you have a condition that is hereditary – like sticklers syndrome – you will be aware of this as your doctors will be monitoring your condition closely.

Recent evidence suggests that certain types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis in the hands can be hereditary, but further studies are needed to confirm this.

Some people may have a genetic preposition to certain types of arthritis (lupus, ankylosing spondylitis etc), but this is not the same as a type of arthritis being hereditary.

Do arthritis symptoms go away during pregnancy?

Many women who have arthritis find that their symptoms lessen when they are pregnant. However, once the pregnancy is over, the arthritis returns. Pregnant women with ankylosing spondylitis feel no difference in their condition when pregnant. Women with osteoarthritis of the knee and hip find their arthritis gets slightly worse when pregnant.

How long do I have to stop taking my arthritis medication before I start a family?

Women and men taking stronger medication for their arthritis such as methotrexate or other disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs will have to consult their doctor or consultant about the best course of action. However, drugs take about three months to leave the human body.

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