Are you able to tell when the soreness and joint pains you may be experiencing could be symptoms of arthritis? This could be hard to tell without the help of a professional healthcare provider. However, understanding arthritis and its related symptoms could help decide when to have an appointment with a healthcare specialist.
Arthritis is not just about the wear and tear of joints; it could also be about the swelling and soreness of one or more of your body joints. You must have heard that arthritis is more of a disease of the old, this is just like many any misconceptions about various medical conditions. Though it is most common among older people, it can affect people of any age including children.
Keith Richards hands showing signs of well-established osteoarthritis.
How can you tell that the symptoms you are experiencing in your joints are arthritis? Here are some of the most common warning signs and symptoms of arthritis.
- Joint pains: You may experience constant pain in your joints. The pain could also be temporary i.e., it could keep on reappearing. It is possible that you feel the pain in a given part of your or several different sections, even while resting.
- Swelling of skin: you may have observed some swelling over a joint that is feeling a bit sore. The swelling could make it become red and warm when touched. It is also possible that you can feel some fluid-like substance in the swollen area. In case you notice that the swelling has lasted for over three days, or that it keeps recurring, you should consider getting an appointment with your doctor.
- Body stiffness: You might experience stiffness of the body every time you wake up in the morning or even when you have been sitting down on a desk at your place of work or even when you have been on the road driving for some time. This kind of stiffness could appear normal to many. However, in case the stiffness always lasts for a duration that is longer than one hour, you should not hesitate to suspect arthritis and immediately visit a doctor.
- Feeling uncomfortable when moving a joint: Getting out of a position of rest should not be an issue. If you happen to feel some pain or have any difficulty when trying to get up from, let's say your favourite couch, you should consider seeing a health care provider.
It is also possible to have arthritis even when you feel that your joints are just but okay. Some other possible symptoms of arthritis that you need to be on the lookout for include:
- General body fatigue
- Itching of the skin
- You could also observe some changes, especially in the nails
- Body rashes, especially on the affected body parts
- Loss of body weight
- It is also possible that you may lose some hair around your hairline.
I would recommend that before you visit your health care provider, keep track and observe your body symptoms for some weeks, taking note of how long the symptoms take before they disappear and what always lessens the pain or symptom. This will be very crucial to you and the health care provider in giving an accurate diagnosis and effectively admitting treatment.
You now have some of the common symptoms of arthritis figured out. What you probably may not be conversant with is that arthritis is a class of diseases. Some of the most common arthritis types that you may experience and how you can personally deal with them.
- Degenerative arthritis: It is a type of arthritis that is mainly caused by breakdown and inflammation that eventually results in the joints losing some cartilage. In medical terms, it is known as osteoarthritis or the degenerative disease of the joints. When the cartilage wears out, you may experience some friction due to bones rubbing against each other. This may cause pain and even swelling on your joints. If this happens to persist, it may become chronic, and the joints may lose strength.
The wear of the cartilage is associated with factors such as genetics (family history), being overweight, anterior cruciate of the ligament, or even due to age. To help relieve the pain and stiffness that comes with degenerative arthritis, you should undertake some regular body exercise, attend some cold and hot therapy sessions, or even use some pain killers. You should also ensure that you maintain some healthy weights and stay active as long as you can. In case of a severe condition, you may opt to replace the affected joint.
- Inflammatory arthritis: When your immune system fails to function correctly, it may attack the joint using some uncontrolled inflammations. Even though inflammations are useful in getting rid of various infections, it could mistakenly attack the joints hence causing erosion of the joints. Some known examples of inflammatory arthritis are psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Studies show that genetic environmental factors are the major causes of inflammatory arthritis. One common environmental cause of rheumatoid arthritis is smoking. Certain genetic mutations can also cause inflammatory arthritis.
Since this kind of arthritis involves the immune system, it is important that it is diagnosed in good time and appropriate treatment prescribed. One way you can control inflammatory types of arthritis is by slowing down the disease activities. This will help prevent the potential of experiencing permanent damage to the joint. The use of Disease-Modifying Ant rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) is one of the possible methods of reducing disease activities. In addition to reducing the disease activity, it could also reduce the pain, improve joint functionality, and prevent further damage to the joints.
- Infectious arthritis: This is caused by either a virus, bacteria, or fungi. The presence of these organisms in the joint may cause inflammation to happen. Some of the organisms that may affect your joints are shigella, salmonella, gonorrhoea, hepatitis c, through the blood to a blood infection, and chlamydia. In case you are infected with this type of arthritis, you must seek treatment in good time before the infection becomes chronic. Using antibiotics is one way of treating infectious arthritis.
- Metabolic arthritis: This type of arthritis results from metabolic processes involving the breakdown of a substance called purine. For this human cell substance to be broken down, it requires the formation of uric acid. The level of uric acid differs from one person to the other, with some people producing more than the body needs. When the uric acid levels increase, it forms needle-like crystals in your joints. This may result in you experiencing excruciating joint pains or even a gout attack. You may experience various episodes of gout attacks depending on the levels of the uric acid. In case the uric acid levels are not reduced, the condition may develop to chronic levels, which may result in you developing some forms of disability.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic and the stay at home directives, it is possible that you could be taking much of your time sleeping or sitting at home. This could expose you to joint pains and even stiffness. When this occurs, it is important that that you visit your health caregiver to correctly diagnose the cause of such joint pains. You doctor will then be able to inform you whether it is just normal fatigue symptom or a condition that is related to arthritis. With accurate diagnosis, you will be referred to a specialist dealing with your condition.
Generally, you can engage in various activities to ensure that you maintain your body weight at healthy levels. Practice healthy and quality life by undertaking more of physical exercises that will help in improving the mobility of your joints during this period. Try doing the following things to reduce your possibility of getting arthritis.
- Avoid prolonging bed rests. Always stay active
- Have moderate exercising activities
- Maintain your normal routine
- In case of any symptoms, seek medication from health care providers
- Consider therapies, both hot and cold
- Avoid twisting your body. In case you want to lift objects, ensure the objects are as close to your body as possible
- Do not sit for long hours. In case your job involves sitting for long, you can take breaks in between to stretch your body.
If you’ve found this helpful, please share. And if you have any further questions, please let me know below and I or one of my team will do our best to provide you with answers.
Jamie Wood, Founder & CEO
→ This article or any of our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any ailment, illness or disease.
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