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Arthritis Symptoms – Taking A Closer Look

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

Arthritis: Facts, Incidence, and Risk Factors

Arthritis is a disorder that causes inflammation to one or more joints. The symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. There are about 100 forms of arthritis. Arthritis can affect anyone but it is common in old people. If not treated in early stages, arthritis can cause permanent damage to the joints which can lead to low quality life.

Arthritis commonly affects women than men in all races and age. Other risk factors for arthritis include:

  • Family History of the Disease – Some forms of arthritis are genetically linked. You are at risk of developing arthritis if you have or had a member of the family suffering from arthritis
  • Overweight – People who are overweight are at high risk of getting arthritis. This is because excess weight put stress on the joints, spine, and the hip which can lead to wear out of the cartilage

What is the Most Important Information I Should Know About Arthritis?

There are two primary types of arthritis, the rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis also known as degenerative joint disease. There are about 100 forms of arthritis and they all affect the joints. They are characterised by joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and inflammation.

The difference between the two primary types of arthritis is that osteoarthritis affects old people and it is as a result of acute trauma and repetitive stress on the joints while rheumatoid arthritis can occur in any age.

The treatment for arthritis is usually directed towards the symptoms. Drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics can help in treating of arthritis.

What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?

The symptoms of arthritis depend with the form of arthritis even though stiffness, inflammation, joint pain and swelling are common in all forms of arthritis.

Are you Experiencing Any Other Symptoms?

There are some forms of arthritis that have other symptoms apart from joint pain, swelling, stiffness and inflammation.

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is one of the forms of arthritis that affect children. It symptoms include rashes on the legs and arms, anaemia, loss of appetite and fever.

Infectious arthritis usually spread from other parts of the body to the joints. Its symptoms include chills, fever, sharp pain due to injury or an infection in another part of the body.

How to Recognise Early Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis?

Early signs of arthritis can be confusing and indefinite. Most people who have arthritis will experience tenderness around the joints, stiffness especially after sleep, less motion of the joints and the affected joint area will turn red and warm.

Myth About Treating Arthritis

There are several myths about treating arthritis. Some of the myths are:

  • Nothing much can be Done to Reduce* Pain Associated with Arthritis – This myth is not true. Arthritis symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness, swelling and inflammation can be reduced* by use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine, and corticosteroids
  • Early treatment can have Side Effects – This myth is misleading. Early treatment of arthritis can help reduce* the spread of arthritis such as infectious arthritis. It can also help in prevention of further damage to the joints which can result to disability. Even though some medications can have side effects, early treatment is always encouraged
  • People who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) should not exercise – This myth is not true. Taking a rest for people who have RA is good but exercise is also needed so that the joints cannot become stiff. People suffering from RA can get involved in low impact exercises such as aerobics, yoga, tai chi, walking, pilates, swimming, and stretching

What Research is Being Done on Arthritis?

Several researches are going on about arthritis. Scientists are studying new treatment for RA. The area being studied include medicine that inhibit the inflammation caused by b-cells, t-cells, and interleukin-1

Research is also being done to find the genes that might be the cause RA and abnormalities of immune system in patients of RA.

Research is also done on better ways of knowing which patients are susceptible of aggressive RA. A recent research showed that presence of citrulline antibodies in the blood can increase* the risk of having aggressive form of rheumatoid arthritis.

Another study being done on connective tissue collagen show promising results that can help reduce* the RA activity.

What are the Outlooks for Arthritis and What are Arthritis Complications?

The outlook of people with arthritis depends with several factors such as severity of the disorder, the complications, presence or absence of non-joint manifestations.
In severe cases RA can affect the eyes, kidney, and the lungs. Permanent damage of joints is also susceptible in chronic joint inflammation.

Do I have to Talk with my Doctor about Arthritis?

It is advisable to talk with your doctor about arthritis since the disease can affect anyone. People who have arthritis can also discuss with their doctor about their condition so that they can get advice on how to manage their condition.
Knowing the form of arthritis you have can help you get medications that can help you manage the disorder and stay healthy.