Arthritis and Related Diseases

Arthritis and Related Diseases

Arthritis means joint inflammation. There are over 100 diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues around joints and other connective tissue. Some of the most common types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, childhood arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (Lupus), psoriatic arthritis and gout.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects more than one joint of the body causing pain, swelling and redness of the joints. It can affect other organs of the body and cause joint deformity. Hands, feet, wrists elbows, knees and ankles are most commonly involved.

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that can affect one or several joints and occurs most often in knees, hips and lower back. Cartilage in the joint breaks down causing pain, swelling and problems moving joints. Bone spurs can form. It can occur in people of all ages.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that often begins in childhood or in young adults. It can involve joints, kidneys, skin, blood, brain and other organs. Common symptoms are joint pain and swelling, hair loss, fatigue, rash and swelling.

Childhood arthritis is a group of diseases that cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of motion in the joints before a child turns 16 year old. There are several types and one or more joints can be affected. It can also affect other organs, like the eyes, liver, heart, and lungs.


Arthritis Foundation – Massachusetts – The Arthritis Foundation, New England Region serves all six states across the region and is actively working to reduce the unacceptable impact of arthritis on the lives of the 1,203,000 adults and 5,900 children in Massachusetts.
29 Crafts Street
Suite 450
Newton, Massachusetts 02458
Phone: 617-244-1800

Rheumatoid Arthritis Program – Mass General Hospital – The Massachusetts General Hospital Rheumatoid Arthritis Program is recognized internationally for its innovative research into this condition and state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services.  Our program’s goal is to improve the quality of life for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Through aggressive research efforts, we are trying to understand the mechanisms that cause the disease—and how to diagnose it and predict its progression. We hope these efforts will lead to new therapies and treatments that ultimately enhance patient care.  Call 617-726-7938 for program info and appointments.

Massachusetts Lupus Support Groups – Area support groups meet on a regular basis by professionally trained facilitators where people can discuss lupus, new treatment and strategies for living well with the disease.

  • Boston Arthritis and Lupus Group
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston
    Please call Denice Garrett 617-549-6928
  • Women of Courage Lupus Support Group
    Codman Square Health Center
    Dorchester, MA
    Facilitator: Gail Granville 617-825-6010
    Ernestine Washington
  • Southcoast, Plymouth & Upper Cape Lupus Support Group
    Plymouth Council on Aging, Plymouth, MA
    Please call Debby Schoener 508-743-0849
  • South Shore Lupus Group
    Marriott Courtyard, Stoughton, MA
    Please call Bob and Gloria Walsh 508-533-8724

Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases – The Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases evaluates and treats the entire spectrum of the more than 100 causes of arthritis, with a specialized focus in rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriatic arthritis, and spine disorders.
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 732-5325

Other Information:

Living with ArthritisWhether you’re just starting your RA journey or have had the disease for decades, you may find value in this new document. provides education, information and advocacy for all arthritis types..

Arthritis  – Center for Disease Control – Basic information about arthritis in general and several common types of arthritis.

Arthritis Types – Arthritis Foundation – Listing of 62 types of arthritis and related diseases

Juvenile Arthritis – National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskelatal and Skin Diseases – Juvenile arthritis (JA) is a term often used to describe arthritis in children. Children can develop almost all types of arthritis that affect adults, but the most common type that affects children is juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Kids Get Arthritis Too – The Arthritis Foundation has put together a set of resources parents can use to help ensure success at school. See the checklists, forms and videos that cover topics from educational rights to school communication.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – US National Library of Medicine – Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease. In this disease, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.

Psoriatic Arthritis – National Psoriasis Foundation – Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints. Psoriatic arthritis can develop at any time, but it most commonly appears between the ages of 30 and 50. Genes, the immune system and environmental factors are all believed to play a role in the onset of the disease.

Fact Sheet last updated on: 9/22/2021

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