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Early Signs of Arthritis That You Need To Pay Attention To And What To Do Next

Arthritis is a disease that generally refers to pain or stiffness in the joints, and while it’s pretty common it’s not understood all that well. Arthritis is not a single disease either – there are more than 100 types of it and it affects people of all ages, genders, and races. In fact, it’s the leading cause of disability in America with more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children affected.

But it is important to note that arthritis occurs most often in women and occurs more often as people get older. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes according to doctors, and these changes can be visible as in the finger joints, but often times the damage is only visible under an X-ray. Although there are dozens of types of arthritis, there are 3 types that are the most common:

1. Osteoarthritis

This is the most common type of arthritis and has to do with the ‘wear and tear’ that happens to your joints over time. Usually, this type of arthritis occurs with age, but it is also found in people with obesity because weight puts extra stress on the joints. Osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in the knees, hips, feet, and spine.

Symptoms

  • Deep, painful pain
  • Trouble dressing, combing hair, gripping things, bending over, squatting, or climbing stairs. depending on which joints are involved
  • Morning stiffness for less than an hour
  • Pain when walking
  • Stiffness after resting

And our joint may be:

  • Warm to the touch
  • Swollen and harder to move
  • Unable to move through a full range of motion

Treatments for osteoarthritis are as follows:

  • Management of symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Improving joint mobility and flexibility that can be achieved with therapy
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting enough exercise

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, also known as RA, is an autoimmune disease. RA attacks certain parts of the body, but especially the joints, leading to inflammation and can cause serious joint damage if left untreated. RA usually affects multiple joints at once, and symptoms can be gradual or appear suddenly.

Symptoms

  • Rheumatoid nodules. These form in approximately 1 in 5 people, and are usually formed over articular areas that are under great pressure such as the knees, elbows, or heels.
  • Pain and stiffness
  • Swelling in the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, feet, jaws, and neck.
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite or weight

Treatment

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid drugs are fast-acting drugs to reduce inflammation.
  • disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or DMARDs are drugs that act to modify the course of the disease.
  • Surgery is an option for people with RA whose mobility has been severely limited.

3. Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriasis: a condition of red, raised, and patchy skin that is inflamed and scaly. About 30% of people first have this skin condition and then develop psoriatic arthritis. PsA is actually an autoimmune disease that attacks the body’s healthy tissue and joints causing inflammation, joint pain, and stiffness. This can affect people of all ages.

Symptoms

  • Painful swollen joints
  • Pitted or discolored fingernails
  • Sausage-like fingers or toes
  • Stiffness
  • Pain in tendons or ligaments
  • skin rash (such as those associated with psoriasis)
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Eye problems such as redness or irritation
  • Flares
  • Psoriatic arthritis is also closely linked to Crohn’s disease

Treatment

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid drugs are fast-acting drugs to reduce inflammation.
  • disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or DMARDs are drugs that act to modify the course of the disease.

What to do if you recognize any of these signs or symptoms

If you recognize any of these signs or symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your doctor to determine if you have arthritis and what to do next. You can also search the Arthritis Foundation for a complete list of different types of arthritis, as well as their tools and resources page which goes into treatments, medications, and tips for treating arthritis.

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