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All told, 40 million Americans suffer from the chronic symptoms of arthritis, making it the leading cause of disability in the United States.
There are more than one hundred forms of arthritis and the causes of many are unclear. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (commonly referred to as simply arthritis) and rheumatoid arthritis. Gout is a less common form of the disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis â€” one of the many forms of arthritis â€” typically begins at 20 to 50 years of age, although it can develop in childhood.
Rhemathoid arthritis is two to three times more common in women than men. Men, however, are at greater risk than women of developing gout.
While genes appear to be a contributing factor to arthritis, there are other causes. Researchers believe that environmental agents â€” a virus, or even stress, can trigger the disease in people who are genetically predisposed to it.
Many arthritis patients get relief with aspirin and Ibuprophen, along with other over-the-counter products like Aspercreme, Ben-Gay and Vics VapoRub.
Most forms of arthritis are characterized by joint pain â€” a stiff knee, a painful hip, and reddened and swollen fingers, But the causes are not always the same. Aging, stressful activity, an accident and autoimmune disorder all have been found to contribute to arthritis.