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Inflammatory Arthritis

What is inflammatory arthritis?  

Inflammatory arthritis includes a group of conditions whereby the body’s defense system begins to attack the tissues of joints instead of germs, viruses and other foreign substances. This can result in stiffness, pain and joint damage. As a result of this damage, some of the joints may gradually change shape and deformities can develop. Once a joint is damaged, the damage cannot be reversed. Early treatment aimed at reducing inflammation is important to prevent damage to the joint and, for some forms of inflammatory arthritis, to internal organs. Inflammatory arthritis is often referred to as being systemic because it can affect the whole body. The most common forms of inflammatory arthritis are: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis also affects children.


How is inflammatory arthritis diagnosed? 

Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on your medical history, a physical examination and diagnostic tests that may include blood tests and X-rays.

Who gets inflammatory arthritis? 

Inflammatory arthritis affects people of every age, gender and ethnic background.  Genetics, age and lifestyle can all play a part in increasing one’s risk of developing inflammatory arthritis.



Medications for inflammatory arthritis are aimed at controlling inflammation and minimizing disease activity to help prevent joint damage.

These medications can be quite complex, so you are encouraged to ask for in-depth explanations from your health-care team – including pharmacists, who are an excellent source of information. 

To explore this area of treatment, The Arthritis Society has developed a comprehensive expert guide that delivers detailed information on medications used to treat inflammatory arthritis 

EXPLORE: Arthritis Medications – A Reference Guide 

The optimal treatment is what is best in each individual case – so speak with your doctor and/or pharmacist about what kind of medications are most appropriate for you. 


Self-management of arthritis can include a number of activities that you can do on your own, or with the support of complementary health practitioners to help manage your symptoms of arthritis. This self-management resource has a variety of options you can explore to help you manage your arthritis.

Inflammatory arthritis self-management

What Now

Living well with arthritis

There is a lot you can do to take control and actively manage your arthritis. Below we have listed a few resources to help you learn more about actively managing your arthritis to live better.


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Navigating Through Arthritis

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