One of the most common conditions in the United States today is a debilitating inflammatory disease that affects our joints. It is estimated that there are over 100 different forms of this disease and over 40 million people suffer from one form or another.
Though typically thought to be an affliction of the aging, arthritis can affect anyone at any time, and with all the different forms, each with their own symptoms, it could be hard to determine just what type of arthritis an individual is suffering from.
The signs and symptoms of arthritis are varied, though some first symptoms are familiar and easy to recognize. Symptoms such as general pain or swelling around the joints, and increased stiffness in the joints in the morning, a cracking sound in the knees when standing, and joints with a red appearance that feel warm to the touch are all signs of arthritis.
However, before you rush to purchase an over-the-counter arthritis treatment, you should talk to your doctor. Your doctor is the only one who will be able to tell you what form of arthritis you may have and how to treat it.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis that plagues sufferers. It affects the joints and is a systemic disease that can affect other organs. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms tend to disappear after some time, but the problem is still there. The true cause of rheumatoid arthritis is presently unknown, though many suggest that things such as infections, fungi, or bacteria are the culprits. However, there are also those that believe that rheumatoid arthritis is hereditary. Painful and swollen joints are a common warning sign of rheumatoid arthritis, followed by muscle pain, extreme fatigue, redness and warmth at the joints, even a low-grade fever and appetite loss.
Next to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis is a common affliction, caused by the breaking down of joint cartilage. Osteoarthritis commonly begins in one joint and typically only affects the one joint. It does not move to internal organs. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the knees, hips, hands, and spine. By the time the pain starts setting in for an osteoarthritis sufferer, the damage to the affected joint cartilage could be considerable.
Relieving pain from a form of arthritis can be as simple as over-the-counter or prescription medication. However, in the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Being overweight can also play a role in arthritis. Some physicians believe that a change in diet can also ease the pain of arthritis, though there is a lot of debate on the topic. Regardless, you should speak to your doctor who can tell you just what form of arthritis you may have, and what treatment options may work best for you.