Learn more about the basics of arthritis, from arthritis to common symptoms and diagnostic methods. It can be difficult to understand arthritis pain. Find out more about the causes, sources, contributing factors, and emotional connection of arthritis pain. Actually, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. When the joint symptoms of osteoarthritis are mild or moderate.
Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints. When the cartilage — the slick, cushioning surface on the ends of bones — wears away, bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Over time, joints can lose strength and pain may become chronic. Risk factors include excess weight, family history, age and previous injury an anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, tear, for example.
If joint symptoms are severe, causing limited mobility and affecting quality of life, some of the above management strategies may be helpful, but joint replacement may be necessary. Osteoarthritis can prevented by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding injury and repetitive movements. A healthy immune system is protective.
It generates internal inflammation to get rid of infection and prevent disease. But the immune system can go awry, mistakenly attacking the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, potentially causing joint erosion and may damage internal organs, eyes and other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are examples of inflammatory arthritis.
Researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environmental factors can trigger autoimmunity. Smoking is an example of an environmental risk factor that can trigger rheumatoid arthritis in people with certain genes. With autoimmune and inflammatory types of arthritis, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is critical. Slowing disease activity can help minimize or even prevent permanent joint damage.
It causes chronic inflammation, along with joint pain, swelling and stiffness. In some people, rheumatoid arthritis eventually can lead to joint damage and disability. Despite the fact that their symptoms may be similar, the two forms of arthritis differ significantly from one another and require different forms of treatment. Seeing a health care professional early is a good idea, as some of the treatments can affect the natural progression of the condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis typically affects the small joints first, particularly those that connect the fingers to the hands and the toes to the feet. Early-warning signs of rheumatoid arthritis include joint swelling, especially in the knuckles at the base of the fingers, or in the wrists or feet; stiffness of the hands, wrists or feet that occurs in the early morning and improves after activity; and unexplained fatigue, fever or weight loss.
Let your health care provider know if you have a parent, sibling or child with rheumatoid arthritis, which means you may have an increased risk of the disease. Your health care provider can assess your situation and, if necessary, recommend a treatment plan based on your circumstances. Neither form of arthritis can be cured, but treatment often can help control symptoms. Treatment for osteoarthritis generally includes pain medication, physical therapy and, in some cases, corticosteroid injections.
Modifying activities to reduce stress on the joints often is necessary, as well. Many people think arthritis is a normal part of getting older. This is not true. In fact, two out of every three people with arthritis are between 15 and 60 years old.
Arthritis can affect people from all backgrounds, ages and lifestyles. There are many different reasons why your joints may be sore. Not all pain in muscles and joints is caused by arthritis. It could be from an injury or using your joints and muscles in an unusual way for example, playing a new sport or lifting heavy boxes.
Talk to your doctor if you have pain and stiffness that:. See your doctor as soon as possible if you have symptoms of arthritis. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and examine your joints.
They may do some tests or x-rays, but these can be normal in the early stages of arthritis. It may take several visits before your doctor can tell what type of arthritis you have. This is because some types of arthritis can be hard to diagnose in the early stages. Your doctor may also send you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specialises in arthritis, for more tests. Currently there is no cure for most forms of arthritis. While there are treatments that can effectively control symptoms, you should be wary of any products or treatments that claim to cure arthritis.
Many types of arthritis can be easily and effectively controlled by modern treatment. Early diagnosis and the right treatment can ease symptoms and may even prevent damage to your joints. Research has led to great improvements in this area. Because arthritis affects people in different ways, treatment has to be tailored to the needs of each person. It is important to work with your healthcare team to find treatments that suit you.
Arthritis Australia advocates to government, business, industry and community leaders to improve care, management, support and quality of life for people with arthritis. Arthritis Australia funds research and advocates to improve care, management, support and quality-of-life for people with arthritis.
Home What is arthritis? Understanding arthritis The most important step to living well with arthritis is to learn about your condition and its management.
Is rheumatism different to arthritis? Are there different types of arthritis? The most common forms of arthritis are: Osteoarthritis Rheumatoid arthritis Gout Ankylosing spondylitis Who gets arthritis?
WebMD explains the role of inflammation in arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Learn about the different types of arthritis from the experts at WebMD. Understanding Arthritis -- the Basics. Share on FacebookShare on. Understanding arthritis. Contents. About this booklet. 3. What is arthritis? 4. The different kinds of arthritis. Osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis