Dealing With An Arthritis Diagnosis As A Young Adult
Rheumatoid arthritis can appear decades before other types of arthritis. An individual diagnosed with arthritis in their 60s may seem more likely because of the normal wear-and-tear the joints experienced throughout their lifetime. However, the idea of developing a degenerative joint disease in your 20s can be overwhelming. At a younger age, your body should have more time to heal itself as compared to an elderly person. However, the diagnosis of degenerative joint disease at a young age can mean that your joints are likely to become more damaged as you continue to age.
When To Speak With A Doctor
Anyone experiencing symptoms of RA should seek medical attention. It is important to receive an accurate diagnosis quickly, as appropriate, timely treatment can limit the effects of RA and their impact on someones life.
Rheumatologists are doctors who specialize in RA, and they are the most suitable healthcare professionals to diagnose the condition accurately. They will take the individuals medical history, perform a physical exam, and request laboratory tests and imaging studies to make a diagnosis.
RA can develop in people of any age, from children to older adults. The disease appears most commonly in females aged 2545 years, but it can also affect people at an older age.
Some defining differences between RA and EORA include:
- distribution between sexes
What Are The Signs Of Arthritis In Teenagers
The symptoms of arthritis in teenagers and young people start as simple joint pain, particularly in the knees. Teens will have pain, sometimes swelling or sometimes limping without pain.
“Pain and swelling are not usually typical of minor joint injuries,” says Dr. Smurawa. “If you have significant pain, swelling or loss of motion, that could indicate some type of arthritis.”
If knee pain does not go away on its own or with the help of physical therapy, it may be caused by OCD. If an athlete experiences any knee pain that lasts for weeks or months, they should see an orthopedic specialist and have an X-ray. Early treatment may help prevent injuries from getting worse.
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How Is Ra Treated
RA can be effectively treated and managed with medication and self-management strategies. Treatment for RA usually includes the use of medications that slow disease and prevent joint deformity, called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs biological response modifiers are medications that are an effective second-line treatment. In addition to medications, people can manage their RA with self-management strategies proven to reduce pain and disability, allowing them to pursue the activities important to them. People with RA can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning to use five simple and effective arthritis management strategies.
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Can I Claim Benefits If I Have Arthritis
There are a number of benefits and grants you may be able to claim if you have arthritis.
Benefits for mobility problems
If youre over State Pension age and you need help with your personal care, such as washing, dressing and going to the toilet, because of your symptoms of arthritis, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance.
Disabled Facilities Grants
You may be eligible for financial support for home adaptations to help you manage better. This could include installing ramps and handrails, and getting specialist equipment to help you in the kitchen or bathroom.
If you have a friend or family member who looks after you for at least 35 hours a week, they may be able to claim Carers Allowance.
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Effects On Your Daily Life
- See a doctor or other relevant healthcare professional if youre unable to do everyday tasks due to joint or muscle pain.
- If youve lifted something heavy and hurt your back, for example, take some painkillers, apply some heat and try to stay active. If the pain doesnt ease after a couple of weeks or so, see a doctor.
Its important to see a doctor if you get any new symptoms or if you have any trouble with drugs youre taking.
If you have an appointment with a doctor, to help make sure you get the most out of it, you could take a list of questions with you and tick them off as they are discussed.
You could also keep a symptoms diary with details of how youre feeling in between appointments. Some people find that taking a friend or relative with them to an appointment can provide support and ensure that all important points are discussed.
Can You Prevent Arthritis
There is no single preventative measure for arthritis, especially considering all of the different forms that exist. But you can take steps to preserve joint function and mobility. These steps will also improve your overall quality of life.
Learning more about the disease can also help with early treatment. For example, if you know you have an autoimmune disorder, you can be mindful of early symptoms. The earlier you catch the disease and start treatment the better you may be able to delay the progression of the disease.
Some general recommendations as to how you can prevent arthritis include:
- Eating a Mediterranean-style diet. A diet of fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, beans, and whole grains may help with inflammation. Decreasing your intake of sugar, wheat, and gluten may also help.
- Eating a diet low in sugars. Sugars can contribute to inflammation and gout pain.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. This reduces the demands on your joints.
- Exercising regularly. Physical activity can help reduce pain, improve mood, and increase joint mobility and function.
- Refraining from smoking. The habit can worsen autoimmune disorders, and is a major risk-factor for rheumatoid arthritis
- Seeing your doctor for yearly check-ups. Remember to report any symptoms that may be related to arthritis.
- Wearing proper protective equipment. When playing sports or doing work, protective equipment can help prevent injuries.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis
The first step in finding relief from joint pain, swelling, and stiffness is working with your doctor to determine if you could be having symptoms of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis . The sooner you know, the sooner you can begin treatment and find relief from your symptoms.
Weve put together a quick guide to help you understand the differences between RA and OA. While RA and OA can both lead to joint pain and stiffness, there are important differences that can help you have a conversation with your doctor to assist in identifying which type of arthritis you might haveand ultimatelyhow to treat it. Use the chart below to learn more about RA and OA.
Who Is At Risk For Osteoarthritis
Anyone can get osteoarthritis, but it is more common as people age. Women are more likely than men to have osteoarthritis, especially after age 50. Other factors that may make it more likely to develop osteoarthritis include:
- Overweight or obesity
- History of injury or surgery to a joint
- Overuse from repetitive movements of the joint
- Joints that do not form correctly
- Family history of osteoarthritis
Each of these risk factors can cause tissues within the joints to break down and lead to osteoarthritis. You can decrease your chances of developing osteoarthritis by changing the risk factors you can control.
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Arthritis: A Common Culprit
One in every five American adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. And in more than 30% of those diagnosed cases, the patient reported having pain significant enough to limit their lifestyle, daily activities, and even their work.
If youre experiencing joint pain and are wondering if you may be among these statistics, youre probably beginning to wonder: how do I know if I have arthritis?
Arthritis is characterized by inflammation within a joint, but the reason for the inflammation can vary. Below weve provided a breakdown of how the major forms of arthritis occur in the body and how they present themselves with specific symptoms.
Heres your guide to answering the question
Further Information Help And Support
Versus Arthritis provides help and support for people in the UK with arthritis, plus their families and friends.
They have a free helpline you can call for further information and support on 0800 5200 520, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. The helpline is closed from 12pm on the last Friday of every month for training.
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How Does Osteoarthritis Affect Young People Differently
Although osteoarthritis is more common in older people, many young people in their teens, 20s and 30s can still suffer with the condition. The symptoms are generally the same, no matter how old you are, but it can affect young people differently.
Early onset osteoarthritis can affect a young persons ability to carry out their job or perform their favourite exercise. Older people will still be affected in the same way, but perhaps they might be retired and less keen on intense exercise or professional level sports.
In especially young people, such teenagers, osteoarthritis can affect mental wellbeing too. This is a time when theres a pressure to fit in and be like everybody else. If osteoarthritis means teens cant do the same sports or have the same social life as others, then they may feel left out and socially isolated.
Osteoarthritis in young people can also have an impact on education. If time is needed off school to attend appointments, have surgeries or to deal with pain, then they could be at a disadvantage when it comes to exam passes and grades. Simply walking to school or sitting for long periods of time can also be challenging.
Young people in their 20s and 30s can be left behind in the race for university places, jobs and careers if their school grades have been affected or theyre suffering flare ups preventing them from achieving what they want to achieve.
Who Should Diagnose And Treat Ra
A doctor or a team of doctors who specialize in care of RA patients should diagnose and treat RA. This is especially important because the signs and symptoms of RA are not specific and can look like signs and symptoms of other inflammatory joint diseases. Doctors who specialize in arthritis are called rheumatologists, and they can make the correct diagnosis. To find a provider near you, visit the database of rheumatologistsexternal icon on the American College of Rheumatology website.
Early Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
Like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition. That means instead of protecting your body from disease, the immune system turns against your body and attacks itself.
In addition to painful, swollen joints, the condition can cause rashes, eye redness and pain, and changes to the nails. Some people can get swelling of the whole finger or toe, which doctors refer to as sausage-like. This may help distinguish this condition from other types of arthritis.
How Is Arthritis Diagnosed
Seeing your primary care physician is a good first step if youre unsure who to see for an arthritis diagnosis. They will perform a physical exam to check for fluid around the joints, warm or red joints, and document the range of motion in the joints. Your doctor can refer you to a specialist if needed.
If youre experiencing severe symptoms, you may choose to schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist first. This may lead to a faster diagnosis and treatment.
Documenting inflammation levels in your blood and aspirating and analyzing joint fluids, if present, can help your doctor determine what kind of arthritis you have.
The main goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of pain youre experiencing and prevent additional damage to the joints. Youll learn what works best for you in terms of managing pain.
In general, treatment for arthritis
- heat and cold compresses
- mobility assistance devices, such as canes or walkers
Improving your joint function is also important. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of treatment methods to achieve the best results.
Its Not Surprising That You Can Feel Arthritis In Your Feet: The Disease Predominantly Affects Your Joints And Your Foot Contains More Than 30 Of Them
If you live with arthritis, chances are you feel the painful effects in your feet. Feet are tremendously affected by arthritis, says Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, Florida, and medical advisor for CreakyJoints.
Indeed, osteoarthritis , the most common type of arthritis, affects the feet of one in six people over the age of 50. With rheumatoid arthritis , the most common type of inflammatory autoimmune arthritis, more than 90 percent of patients develop symptoms in the foot and ankle over the course of the disease. In about 20 percent of RA cases, foot and ankle symptoms are even among the first signs of the disease.
Its not surprising that you can feel arthritis in your feet: The disease predominantly affects your joints, and your foot contains more than 30 joints.
Osteoarthritis In Young People: It Doesnt Just Affect The Elderly
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the UK. Its a chronic, debilitating condition that affects over 9 million people.
However, misconceptions about osteoarthritis proliferate perhaps most notably, the myth that it only affects the elderly. This is not the case: although old people are more likely to get osteoarthritis , about 15,000 children and young people also develop this condition.
King Edward VIIs Hospital physician Dr David Porter specialises in all aspects of orthobiologics, substances that sports medicine physicians and orthopaedic surgeons use to help broken bones and injured tissues heal more quickly. Hes an internationally renowned senior physician in sports medicine and was previously the Club Doctor at Chelsea FC.
In this article, Dr Porter explains what osteoarthritis is, how it can affect young people as well as old and how it can be treated.
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Alternative Medicine For Arthritis
A variety of alternative therapies is used for arthritis. However, none of these has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of arthritis, so they may not be effective or safe. It is important to let your doctor know if youre considering these types of treatments.
While some studies suggest that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are as effective as NSAIDs for reducing pain, swelling, and stiffness in osteoarthritis, recent large studies funded by the NIH suggest these supplements are not very helpful, except perhaps in some cases. Typical daily doses are 1,500 milligrams for glucosamine and 1,200 milligrams for chondroitin.
The antibiotic doxycycline may have some potential to delay the progression of osteoarthritis by inhibiting enzymes that break down cartilage. More research is needed to confirm these results.
The NIH considers acupuncture an acceptable alternative treatment for osteoarthritis, especially if it affects the knee. Studies have shown that acupuncture helps reduce pain, may significantly lessen the need for painkillers, and can help increase range of motion in affected knee joints.
The supplement SAMe has been shown in some studies to be as effective for osteoarthritis pain as NSAIDs.
Causes And Risk Factors For Developing Osteoarthritis At A Younger Age
While older age is a common risk factor for OA, other factors may contribute to the development of the disease in younger people.
These include but aren’t limited to:
- Joint injury: Trauma to the joints can increase the risk of developing OA. Repeated physical activity upon an injured joint can exacerbate symptoms. Research estimates about half of the young individuals who sustain knee injuries in the ACL or meniscus will go on to develop OA within 1020 years.
- Being an athlete: Younger people who participate in sports that are more likely to cause injury to the joints, such as football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, and rugby, are at risk for OA. More than 80% of U.S. football players who had a knee injury went on to develop OA 1030 years later.
- Obesity: Developing obesity in early adulthood can put additional stress on the joints, increasing the risk of developing OA in the knees and ankles.
- Genetics: Having a family member who has OA increases the risk of developing the condition.²
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What Is Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that develops when cartilage in the joints wears down over time. Cartilage is a spongy material thats present at the ends of the bones, to help cushion them and prevent them rubbing against each other.
When cartilage wears down and bones rub against each other causing friction, it leads to pain, stiffness and loss of movement. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it most commonly affects the hands, knees, hips and spine. It occurs gradually and will eventually become worse over time.
Known as a type of wear and tear condition, osteoarthritis can begin to affect the bones and the ligaments and tendons that hold the joint in place. This causes inflammation and the deterioration of the entire joint.
Osteoarthritis is different from rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition caused by chronic inflammation that leads to painful swelling and stiffness in the joints.
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