The word "arthritis" literally means joint inflammation. It refers to more than 100 different diseases, which usually affect the area in or around joints, such as muscles and tendons. Some of these diseases can also affect other parts of the body, including the skin and internal organs. According to the National Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the number one cause of physical disability, affecting nearly 43 million Americans, or one in every seven people. When joints become arthritic, pain occurs as the joint is moved to the brink of its own limits. As mobility decreases, the muscles surrounding the joint also weaken, allowing for further injury to the joint. Over time, the cartilage breaks down, the bone erodes and the joints wither away. It is this process, regardless of the source, that may develop in the worst forms of arthritis. Arthritis has always been a mystery, and while we know more about it now than ever, there are still some common misconceptions floating about. Some common myths are: 1. Only older people have arthritis - The most common misconception about arthritis is that it is a disease that only affects older people. In fact, arthritis can affect individuals of all ages, even children. 2. Arthritis is caused by cold, wet weather - For years, many people thought that arthritis was caused by cold, wet weather. Dry weather has been regarded as a cure, prompting some individuals to move. Unfortunately, arthritis does not take geography into consideration, thus people in all types of climate are susceptible by arthritis. 3. Poor diet causes arthritis - Except for people whom are found to have specific food allergies that aggravate their arthritis, there is no proven connection between a particular food source and arthritis. However, that does not mean a sensible diet and ideal weight should not be obtained, for that will greatly alleviate the stress on many crucial joints.