Over time, many people begin to feel pain and stiffness in their bodies. It is natural to wonder if these symptoms are a normal part of aging or if in fact they are indicative of something bigger.
If you are having problems with your joints and find that they are sore, swollen or hard to move – you may have arthritis. Arthritis is caused by inflammation in and around the body’s joints and is an umbrella term used to describe more than 100 diseases and conditions.
Arthritis is often overlooked by the public because it is not a cause of death like heart disease or cancer. Yet it can take a huge toll on a person’s quality of life through the pain and problems that it causes.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with arthritis, it is important to learn more about the disease and its potential impact. In this section, you can get acquainted with the facts about arthritis, the many different types of arthritis and the symptoms it can cause. Learn about risk factors and the steps you can take to keep your joints healthy and prevent arthritis.
For those who want to know more about the tests used to identify arthritis, an overview is available in the diagnosis section. While arthritis can be painful, there are many things you can do to feel better. Relief is available through treatment options offered by doctors and specialists. These can help you live better with the disease.
Arthritis is inflammation in and around the body’s joints. While arthritis is often referred to as a single disease, it is in fact a term used to describe more than 100 diseases and conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, specifically joints. A joint is where two or more bones meet, such as the hip or the knee.
Arthritis is common in adults over the age of 65, however can affect people of all age groups. The main symptoms of arthritis include joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. This can result in joint weakness, instability and deformities that may interfere with the most basic daily tasks such as walking, dressing or driving a car.
The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
Although the cause of arthritis is not yet known, there are several risk factors for arthritis:
Depending of the type of arthritis you have, the symptoms of arthritis can vary. However, the most common signs and symptoms involve the joints. These may include:
If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, it is important to see your doctor.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis, but below is an overview of four of the most common forms of this disease.
Diagnosing arthritis can be challenging due to the many possible conditions that can cause joint discomfort. For that reason, a doctor must rely heavily on your medical history, description of symptoms, as well as a physical exam. During a physical exam, your doctor will check your joints for swelling, redness and warmth, and will also need to see how well you can move your joints.
Doctors can usually determine at the first appointment whether your symptoms are caused by arthritis or another musculoskeletal problem. But it may take several visits to make a more specific diagnosis regarding the particular type of arthritis. Depending on the type of arthritis suspected, your doctor may suggest the following tests:
Treatment options depend on the type and severity of arthritis. In general, arthritis treatment focuses on relieving painful symptoms and increasing joint mobility. There are several different types of treatments, and you may need to try a combination of these to figure out what works best for you.
There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent arthritis: