What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis affects joints, muscles and connective tissues of the body. The word ‘arthritis’ means literally ‘inflammation of the joint’. Anyone can get arthritis - younger people, older people, male, or female.

There are over 100 conditions grouped under the umbrella term ‘arthritis’. That’s why it’s really important to get an accurate diagnosis before you start treatment.

The good news is that you can learn ways to manage your pain. Here at Arthritis Queensland, that’s one of our goals – helping Queenslanders with arthritis to live a full and enjoyable life.

Download our free Information Sheet - 'What is Arthritis'

Causes of Arthritis

Scientists are continuing to learn more about the factors that increase your likelihood of developing arthritis. They vary depending on the particular type of arthritis.

These are some of the factors that increase your risk:

  • Family history and genetic factors – if you have a history of arthritis in your family, you are more at risk of developing it.
  • Environmental factors. For example, excessive stress on a joint from being overweight or a recurring injury may play a role in developing osteoarthritis. Smoking increases your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Gender – women account for 60% of all arthritis diagnoses. This might indicate that hormones, or other male-female differences, may play a role in the development of some forms of arthritis.

Of course, some of these factors can’t be changed – you can’t choose your family or your gender!

But others, like remaining a healthy weight, keeping active, and taking steps to protect your joints from injury, can help to slow the progress of your arthritis, and reduce your pain.

Here’s how you can get help:

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