Arthritis is nothing but Inflammation of one or more joints.  Joint inflammation, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes loss of motion, is a body's normal reaction to damage or the presence of a foreign agent in that area. 

This is seen frequently when there is an injury to a joint (including fracture) or the presence of a virus or bacteria. 

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Most of the time inflammation goes away after the injury has healed or the virus or bacteria has been wiped out by the immune system. With some injuries and some diseases the inflammation does not go away and this is considered arthritis. Altogether there are more than 100 kinds of arthritis, and there are many different diseases that can cause it. 

Gout and scleroderma are two such diseases. Arthritis can also develop as a complication of another disease caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus.  Gonorrhea is one of these diseases.  When this happens it is considered infections arthritis. Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are diseases in which something goes wrong with the immune system and it attacks healthy parts of the body.

Most cases are not preventable.  Awareness of a family history of arthritis-related conditions may allow earlier recognition and earlier treatment of a disorder. Some scientists believe that osteoarthritis may develop in some people because they have abused their joints (injured them many times or over-used them while they were injured). Taking care not to over-work a damaged or sore joint may postpone or help eliminate development of osteoarthritis in some people.

Excess weight also increases your risk for developing osteoarthritis, particularly in the knees, and possibly in the hips and hands.  Women are at special risk for this. In men, being over-weight increases the risk of developing gout.  It is important to maintain your recommended weight, especially as you get older.Symptoms are joint pain (arthralgia), joint swelling, early morning stiffness, warmth around a joint, redness of the skin around a joint, reduced ability to move the joint, unexplained weight loss, fever, or weakness that occurs with joint pain , symptoms of this sort that last for more than two weeks.