Arthritis symptoms

When you hear the word arthritis, what do you think of? For most people, the word arthritis conjures up an image of an old lady or gentleman complaining about his or her aching joints. Associated smells might include the strong odor of BenGay or other popular joint rubs favored by people who suffering from the aches and pains of arthritis joint pain. If your only experience with arthritis is from the complaints of arthritis sufferers, you may not realize that arthritis is actually a catchall term for over 100 types of joint pain. Read one for more about arthritis and arthritis symptoms.

At its most basic, arthritis is simply a condition or group of conditions that involve damage to the body’s joints. The most common type of arthritis, and the type that most grandma’s and grandpa’s suffer from, is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease and that is what it does – causes the connective tissue in the joints to degenerate, resulting in pain for the arthritis sufferer. Osteoarthritis is caused by many factors, and though it is the most common, age is only one of those factors. Osteoarthritis can also be caused by trauma to a joint (such as from an accident or injury) or from infection to that joint (due to a laceration, injury, operation or other medical cause.)

Common arthritis symptoms include joint pain, joint weakness, pain when moving, and eventually, if the sufferer finds him or herself immobile from the pain, atrophy of the muscles. Other arthritis symptoms include inflammation, loss of range of motion, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue.

Another well known form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. This type of arthritis is brought on when the body actually begins to attack itself. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, like all arthritis symptoms, include joint pain and stiffness, but rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are characterized by being more painful in the morning time. For example, in the early stages of the disease, people might think that they are simply stiff from a poor night’s sleep and find that those kinks work out after the morning shower. Only after rheumatoid arthritis symptoms progress will they realize that something is very wrong. Some people – especially the elderly and young, non-verbal children – might exhibit other rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The most common is simply moving less or failing to use the affected limb.

Septic arthritis is another form of arthritis. This form of arthritis is caused by a joint infection. Gouty arthritis is caused when uric acid crystals travel through the body and become deposited in the joints. These uric acid crystals cause inflammation. Gouty arthritis gets its name because of its association with gout, a medical condition where uric acid crystals become lodged in extremities such as the feet and cause extreme pain to the sufferer. Gout arthritis symptoms often start in the big toe. People suddenly feel pain or a “strange” feeling in that or another extremity. When it comes to gouty arthritis, most people who experience the symptoms are men aged 40 or older.

If you are experiencing arthritis symptoms, immediately schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. It is a good idea to keep a diary of your arthritis symptoms in the days before your appointment and be prepared to discuss the diary in detail with your doctor once you are on the examining table. Many people feel that arthritis is simply a matter of course when it comes to getting older, but this is not the case. Leaving arthritis untreated can severely hamper your quality of life. If you think you are suffering from arthritis, do not leave treatment too late and allow your bones or joints to become irreparably damaged from the disease.

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Last updated on Jul 6th, 2010 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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