What should I know about the condition of the person I care for?
What is arthritis?
The more you understand about arthritis, the more you’ll be able to provide effective care and support.
Doctors often divide the different types of arthritis into two groups:
What causes arthritis and related conditions?
Most musculoskeletal conditions are caused by several factors acting together, for example the genes passed on from your parents and environmental factors such as previous injury. Research supported by Arthritis Research UK has gone a long way towards finding the causes of most of the common forms of arthritis, but there’s still a lot to be done.
What is the outlook?
Most forms of arthritis differ a lot from day to day and from one person to another, so it’s difficult to predict the outlook. Many types of arthritis are long-term (chronic) disorders which can’t yet be cured. People with arthritis can experience flare-ups, which may be related to things like viral infections, but they’ll often happen for no clear reason. This unpredictability can make arthritis difficult to live with.
How does it feel to have arthritis?
Arthritis affects different people in different ways, and there are no right or wrong ways to feel. The problem with the pain of arthritis is that it can sometimes carry on for a long time and dealing with it day after day isn’t as easy.
As arthritis symptoms are unpredictable, those with the condition need to find their own way of coping. Learning about the disease is an important factor, and a specialist rheumatology health professional will often help with this.