Arthritis is a joint illness that appears in more than a hundred variations with symptoms that may include joint pain, inflammation and stiffness. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children suffer from one of these forms of arthritis. It can be difficult to differentiate arthritis symptoms from other those associated with other ailments or the common features of aging, but it is important to identify this disease as early as possible so that treatment can help preserve joint function.
Symptoms of Arthritis
You should consult with your physician as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Sudden onset of pain or stiffness, regardless if it is injury related or not
- Fever accompanied by joint pain
- Swelling, redness or tenderness at your joints
- Pain or stiffness following sleep or periods of sitting
- Abnormal appearance of joints
- Loss of joint functionality or range of motion
The symptoms of arthritis may differ depending on the type of illness and person to person. These symptoms may also vary over time due to multiple causes like physiological changes, diet, sleep patterns or stress. Some people may experience an absence of symptoms for short or extended periods, but it is important to remain on your treatment program even during these remissions so that disease progression is slowed as much as possible.
Not all joint pain and inflammation is arthritic, especially those following an injury or over-exertion. Although it is usually a good idea to discuss all joint pain and health conditions with your doctor as soon as they appear, you may use various home remedies to mitigate symptoms. It is advisable to rest affected joints for short periods but do not immobilize the joint; remain as active as possible to prevent joint degradation. You may take over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil, Motrin or Aleve for the pain. Many people also respond to icing to relieve inflammation (for less than 20 minutes at a time) or heating to improve circulation, relax muscles and optimize healing.
What Are the Most Common Types of Arthritis?
The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when protective cartilage in joints erodes, allowing bones to grate upon one another. The symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, tenderness, limited range of motion, or bone spurs (lumps of bone form around joints). An active lifestyle may help maintain joint function.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes your own immune system to attack your tissue including the lining of your joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is often accompanied by fatigue, fever, weight loss, joint stiffness, tenderness, or swollen joints. In almost half of all RA sufferers, there are also non-joint related symptoms that may affect skin, eyes, lungs, heart or kidneys. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis typically includes medications that ease symptoms and slow disease progression.
If you suspect that you may have arthritis, your doctor can perform various tests to confirm it. After a physical examination of your joints, your doctor may use X-rays or blood tests to further verify what strain of arthritis is present.
Article written by: Dr. Robert Moghim – CEO/Founder Colorado Pain Care
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