Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint.In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other, similar conditions that affect the joints.

Arthritis affects people of all ages, including children.

Types of arthritis

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the 2 most common types of arthritis.



Rheumatoid arthritis

In the UK, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 400,000 people.

It often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old. Women are 3 times more likely to be affected than men.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling.

The outer covering (synovium) of the joint is the first place affected.

This can then spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint’s shape. This may cause the bone and cartilage to break down.

People with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs in their body.

Find out more about rheumatoid arthritis

  • ankylosing spondylitis – a long-term inflammatory condition that mainly affects the bones, muscles and ligaments of the spine, leading to stiffness and joints fusing together. Other problems can include the swelling of tendons, eyes and large joints
  • cervical spondylosis – also known as degenerative osteoarthritis, cervical spondylitis affects the joints and bones in the neck, which can lead to pain and stiffness
  • fibromyalgia – causes pain in the body’s muscles, ligaments and tendons
  • lupus – an autoimmune condition that can affect many different organs and the body’s tissues
  • gout – a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the body. This can be left in joints (usually affecting the big toe), but can develop in any joint. It causes intense pain, redness and swelling
  • psoriatic arthritis – an inflammatory joint condition that can affect people with psoriasis
  • enteropathic arthritis – a form of chronic inflammatory arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the 2 main types being ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. About 1 in 5 people with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis will develop enteropathic arthritis. The most common areas affected by inflammation are the peripheral (limb) joints and the spine
  • reactive arthritis – this can cause inflammation of the joints, eyes and the tube that urine passes through (urethra). It develops shortly after an infection of the bowel, genital tract or, less frequently, after a throat infection
  • secondary arthritis – a type of arthritis that can develop after a joint injury and sometimes occurs many years afterwards
  • polymyalgia rheumatica – a condition that almost always affects people over 50 years of age, where the immune system causes muscle pain and stiffness, usually across the shoulders and tops of the legs. It can also cause joint inflammation

Symptoms of arthritis

There are lots of different types of arthritis.

The symptoms you experience will vary depending on the type you have.

This is why it’s important to have an accurate diagnosis if you have:

  • joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
  • inflammation in and around the joints
  • restricted movement of the joints
  • warm red skin over the affected joint
  • weakness and muscle wasting

Arthritis and children

Arthritis is often associated with older people, but it can also affect children.

In the UK, about 15,000 children and young people are affected by arthritis.

Most types of childhood arthritis are known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

JIA causes pain and inflammation in 1 or more joints for at least 6 weeks.

Although the exact cause of JIA is unknown, the symptoms often improve as a child gets older, meaning they can lead a normal life.

The main types of JIA are:

Oligo-articular JIA

Oligo-articular JIA is the most common type of JIA. It affects up to 4 joints in the body, most commonly in the knees, ankles and wrists.

Oligo-articular JIA often goes away without causing long-term joint damage.

But there’s a risk that children with the condition may develop eye problems, so regular eye tests with an eyecare specialist called an ophthalmologist are recommended.

Polyarticular JIA (polyarthritis)

Polyarticular JIA, or polyarthritis, is the second most common type of JIA and affects 5 or more joints.

It can affect a child of any age and may come on suddenly or develop gradually.

The symptoms of polyarticular JIA are similar to the symptoms of adult rheumatoid arthritis.

A child with the condition may also feel unwell and may occasionally have a high temperature of 38C or above.

Systemic onset JIA

Systemic onset JIA begins with symptoms such as a fever, rash, a lack of energy and enlarged glands. Later on, joints can become swollen and inflamed.

Like polyarticular JIA, systemic onset JIA can affect children of any age.

Enthesitis-related arthritis is a type of juvenile arthritis that often affects the joints of the leg and spine, causing inflammation where the tendons attach to the bone.

It can cause stiffness in the neck and lower back in the teenage years.

It’s also linked to a painful eye condition called acute uveitis.

Versus Arthritis has more information about the different types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Treating arthritis

There’s no cure for arthritis, but there are many treatments that can help slow it down.

Osteoarthritis treatments include lifestyle changes, medicines and surgery.

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis aims to slow the condition’s progress and minimise joint inflammation. This helps prevent joint damage.

Treatments include medication, physiotherapy and surgery.

Further information, help and support

Versus Arthritis provides help and support for people in the UK with arthritis, plus their families and friends.

They have a free helpline you can call for further information and support on 0800 5200 520, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm.

You can also look up arthritis services near where you live.

Find out more about living with arthritis


Social care and support guide

If you:

  • need help with day-to-day living because of illness or disability
  • care for someone regularly because they’re ill, elderly or disabled, including family members

Our guide to care and support explains your options and where you can get support.

Aching joints

Ouch! An increase in years inevitably brings some changes to our skeletons with a natural thinning of bones. Changes in the joints, with arthritis, rheumatism and backache are painful reminders of the passing years.  Joint pain is common and can be the result of injury, but more often a form of arthritis.

In older people joint pain that gets steadily worse is usually a sign of osteoarthritis, affecting just one joint, or many.  It can start in one joint usually in hands, feet and wrists causing pain and swelling. This comes and goes in the early phases, with long periods between attacks.

Rheumatoid arthritis can start slowly; a few joints such as fingers, wrists or balls of feet which become uncomfortable and may swell intermittently. There may be stiffness getting out of bed, but see the doctor if pain, swollen joints and stiffness lasts longer than 30 minutes.

Reactive arthritis tends to affect young adults and usually develops after an infection, while another type, psoriatic arthritis affects up to one in five people with psoriasis. A rarer type of arthritis is ankylosing spondylitis, a long-term (chronic) condition in which the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed.Gout another type of arthritis usually affects the joint of the big toe first, before affecting other joints. It’s important to correctly diagnose as treatment will prevent future attacks of joint pain and disability. A similar condition is pseudogout which tends to affect the knee joint first. See your GP if you have persistent symptoms of arthritis.

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The knee joint is frequently damaged; it’s vulnerable because it takes the full weight of your body.  However knee pain isn’t always a joint problem.  If you’ve recently injured a joint and it’s painful the thin layer of tissue lining the joints and tendons may be inflamed, called traumatic synovitis. Knee pain that feels worse going up or down stairs could be a sign of a damaged kneecap, called chondromalacia patellae, often linked to overuse of the knee.  Manage injury-related swelling and pain at home with anti-inflammatories, an icepack and rest.

With age muscles become weak and less able to support limbs, particularly if we’re not active. Muscles begin to atrophy, and your posture and self-esteem can be adversely affected.  Although some bodily decline is inevitable much of the decline can be prevented, and some even reversed. Exercise can help ease joint problems and will keep you fit for work and play.

What is Lyprinol?

Is Lyprinol like other marine or fish oils?

NO. Lyprinol is extracted from GLM (Green Lipped Mussel) and contains a very rare mix of marine lipid groups and unique omega-3 fatty acids. The patented processing of Lyprinol protects their activity. Lyprinol is 350 times more effective than, for example, Cod Liver Oil.

Is Lyprinol like other cheaper GLM products?

NO. The lipids in GLM are extremely sensitive to oxidation. ONLY Lyprinol® has a special patented extraction process, which protects their activity.

What are the advantages of Lyprinol over green-lipped mussel powders?

Lyprinol has many advantages over green-lipped mussel powders including:
– Mussel powders contain proteins, which can cause allergic reactions in some people. Since Lyprinol is an oil all the proteins have been removed
– Mussel powders contain sea salt, which can be a problem for people needing to stay on a low salt diet. Lyprinol contains no sea salts
– Because Lyprinol is a potent concentrate, the dose rate is far lower and the capsules are easier to take.
– The unpleasant odours associated with encapsulated mussel powders have been removed.

Is Lyprinol like other omega-3 products?

NO. Lyprinol is 200-350 times more effective.
How does Lyprinol differ from these other food sources of omega-3 fatty acids?
One of the main differences between Lyprinol and fish oils is the amount required to produce a significant effect. Compared to fish oil doses of 18g per day, Lyprinol has been shown to be effective at a dose of 1 to 2 capsules per day. Independent studies have compared Lyprinol to several foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Lyprinol has been shown to be:

– 100 times more potent than EPA Max (fish oil)
– 125 times more potent than orginal freeze dried mussel powder
– 175 times more potent than evening primrose oil
– 175 times more potent than Salmon Oil
– 200 times more potent than Flax Oil

Lyprinol is one of the best natural sources of omega-3 in the diet, because it contains additional lipids, unique to the Green Lipped Mussel – it’s like fish oil but much better.

Does Lyprinol have the same side effects as fish oil supplements?

NO, Lyprinol has none of the side effects associated with fish oils.
Common side effects of fish oil supplements may include:
– Fishy breath
– Upset stomach
– Greasy stools
Pharmacological doses of fish oil supplements (e.g. greater than 3g daily) also have the potential to worsen blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol).
If you have diabetes, use caution when taking fish oil supplements and consult your doctor to monitor the effect on cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

How is Lyprinol different to cod liver oil?

Cod liver oil is not suitable for people with asthma, diabetes, a blood clotting disorder, or if you are taking Warfarin or other blood thinning medicines. If you were considering taking cod liver oil for any of the above conditions it would be advisable to seek the advice of your doctor before taking cod liver oil products.

Caution should also be taken if using cod liver oil as a fish oil supplement because it contains very high levels of vitamin A. High doses of vitamin A can cause headache, dry skin, itching, and liver damage.

Everybody can take Lyprinol, although we recommend that pregnant women and very young children should only use Lyprinol after consultation with a doctor or health visitor.

I am allergic to shellfish. Can I take Lyprinol?

YES. Allergies respond to carbohydrate or proteins. The extraction process used in Lyprinol isolates only fats. Lyprinol is safe for people suffering from fish or shellfish allergies.

Is Lyprinol suitable for children?

YES. Children as young as 3 can take it. Please consult your doctor if in any doubt.

I am vegetarian (or Vegan). Can I take Lyprinol?

Lyprinol is a mix of fats extracted from mussels and encapsulated in a gelatine casing.
This may cause concerns for vegetarians.

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