Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. It is one of the most common diseases in the United States. This condition means that different individual illnesses with differing factors, treatments, complications and prognosis occurs. They are similar in that they have a tendency to affect the joints, muscles, ligaments, cartilage and may affect internal body areas.
You should suspect arthritis if you have signs and symptoms:
Persistent joint pain, Pain or tenderness in a joint which is aggravated by movement or activity, such as walking, getting up from a chair, writing, typing, holding an object, throwing a ball, turning a key, Inflammation indicated by joint swelling, stiffness, redness, and/or warmth, Joint deformity, Loss of range of motion or flexibility in a joint, Other associated symptoms that may be present may include unexplained weight loss, Extreme fatigue, lack of energy, Non-specific fever without any cause. Different forms of arthritis such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause changes that you can see and feel. With Osteoarthritis the symptoms can range from stiffness and mild pain that comes and goes with activities like walking, bending or stooping to severe joint pain.Rheumatoid arthritis can attack almost any joint in the body. Most of the time with rheumatoid arthritis if you have arthritis in a joint on one side of the body the same joint on the other side of the body will be affected.
The duration, severity and the type of joint involvement may give a clue to the type of arthritis, since the prognosis will vary according to the cause of this disease.
If only a single joint is involved then you would consider causes like septic arthritis (with fever/ inflammation), reactive arthritis, transient synovitis etc. On the other hand, if multiple joints are involved then a possibility like Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatic fever, Osteoarthritis etc. may need to be kept in mind. The diagnostic clues will give ides for specific tests to be done so that appropriate therapy can be given to minimize pain and activity disruption, with a minimum of side effects. If you have arthritis signs and symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Diagnosing arthritis early can help to prevent irreversible damage and disability. The arthritis signs and symptoms must be taken seriously because there is currently no known cure for arthritis. Because there is currently no known cure, you must have early and aggressive treatment in order to minimize your symptoms and the on-going joint destruction of arthritis. Many patients have benefited greatly with early and aggressive treatment and by working closely with your health care provider you too have this opportunity.