Arthritis (arth-RYE-tis) is a rheumatic (roo-mat-ik) disease in which joints are affected by inflammatory or degenerative changes, causing pain and stiffness. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, and symptoms vary depending on which type you have. Osteoarthritis (os-tee-oh-are-threye-tis) is the most common form. This is a disorder in which joints may eventually wear out, and is characterized by pain, swelling, aching, and stiffness in the joints. Joints may also become knobby in appearance, but osteoarthritis rarely becomes a serious problem and is not life threatening. Symptoms of rheumatoid (room-ah-toyd) arthritis may not begin with pain in the joints. Instead, patients experience a loss of appetite and weight, pain all over, and a fever. Fatigue is also a common symptom in rheumatoid arthritis, as is a general feeling of stiffness after a night's sleep. If you develop any of these symptoms, and they last more than two weeks, you should see your doctor. The sooner you receive treatment for arthritis, the more successful it is likely to be. For more information about arthritis symptoms, contact a health care professional.