Arthritis, a joint disorder that results in inflammation and pain, is not a disease most people associate with youth. According to the NHS, over ten million people in the UK are living with the condition, the most common subtypes of which are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis — but not all of them are elderly. The Guardian reports that in the UK, 27,000 people under 25 have a form of the disorder, so if you're experiencing any of the signs of early onset arthritis, don't discount them simply because of your age.
Let's unpack the subtypes of arthritis first. The NHS says that osteoarthritis is the most common form of the disorder in the UK, impacting approximately 8 million people. It occurs when cartilage around the joints breaks down, causing swelling, pain, bony growths called "osteophytes", and impeded movement. Osteoarthritis most frequently afflicts people in or over their late 40s, especially women.
While there's no absolute cure for arthritis, there are numerous treatments available to alleviate the symptoms of the condition. Those with osteoarthritis might be prescribed painkillers, steroids, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, according to the NHS; in severe cases, surgical intervention might help. People diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, meanwhile, might be offered painkillers or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and could also be encouraged to exercise regularly or try physiotherapy. In short? There's treatment out there, so don't ignore your symptoms; if you're experiencing any of the following, make an appointment with your GP.