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How Do I Know What Kind Of Arthritis I Have

Early Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms

What type of arthritis do you have? A Rheumatologist explains.

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.

What You Need To Know About Arthritis

When you think of arthritis, you probably picture an elderly person with aching fingers. You may have heard that cracking your knuckles gives you arthritis. But, lets get the facts straight.

Arthritis doesnt only target the elderly. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Experts there also state that the condition is more common in people who have other chronic conditions. Consider these arthritis statistics:

  • 49 percent of adults with heart disease have arthritis.
  • 47 percent of adults with diabetes have arthritis.
  • 31 percent of adults who are obese have arthritis.

So, what is arthritis? Vijayabhanu Mahadevan, MD, is a rheumatologist who sees patients in Phoenix. She explains it is a pain and swelling in your joints.

Take Notes About Pain Frequency Intensity And Triggers

Try keeping a diary of how you feel each day, rating your pain at different times and after different activities. Record what makes your pain feel better, and what makes it worse. Also share with your doctor what you can and cannot do because of your pain. For instance, make note of whether you can drive a car comfortably but have difficulty holding a fork. Your doctor will also want to know about any other symptoms you are experiencing, such as fever or a skin rash, which could point to another kind of arthritis.

The long-term impact to your health from arthritis varies widely from person to person and by the type and severity of arthritis. Still, a diagnosis and treatment is important for more than just your physical health its necessary for your emotional health, too. Anxiety and depression can occur with almost any chronic illness arthritis is no exception, Ruthberg says. So, if youre struggling with pain, see your doctor to figure out the source and the solution.

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How Is Arthritis Treated

The goal of treatment is to provide pain relief, increase joint mobility and strength, and control the disease as much as possible. Your doctor has a number of options to help you manage pain, prevent damage to the joint, and keep inflammation at bay.

Treatment of arthritis could include rest, occupational or physical therapy, hot or cold compresses, joint protection, exercise, drugs, and sometimes surgery to correct joint damage. Your treatment plan may involve more than one of these.

Treatments for osteoarthritis generally can help relieve pain and stiffness, but the disease may continue to get worse. The same was true for rheumatoid arthritis in the past, but treatments are now able to slow or stop the progression of arthritis damage.

Yes Your Neck Pain Could Be Arthritis

What Type of Arthritis Do You Have? Understanding Symptoms

No matter where it occurs in the body, arthritis can be a real pain. One type, which goes by the name cervical spondylosis, can leave you with a stiff neck or major aches.

Often a side effect of aging, arthritis in the neck occurs when the discs, joints, and bones of the neck naturally deteriorate.

While you cant stop the aging process, you can take steps to delay its effect on the neck.

And if you do develop arthritis in the neck, you can often find relief from at-home treatment plan that includes medication, icing or heating, and/or physical therapy.

Heres what to know about arthritis in the neck, including the risk factors, treatments, and how to prevent it.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis In The Neck

This type of arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. If you have it, your immune system will attack and destroy the lining of the joints.

The disease ususally first appears in the hands, knees, feet, and ankles, progressing to the neck.

This results in increased inflammation at the joint, and the bodys response to that inflammation comes in the form of pain and stiffness, says Rahul Shah, MD, a board-certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon at Premier Orthopaedic Spine Associates in Vineland, New Jersey. With this type of arthritis, the hands are likely to be affected, as well as the upper portions of the neck.

Changes In Surrounding Joints

In patients with advanced thumb base arthritis, the neighboring joints may become more mobile than normal.

Thumb extension deformity. This patient has lost mobility at the base of the thumb due to arthritis. The next joint closer to the tip of the thumb has become more mobile than normal to make up for the arthritic joint. Normally, the thumb does not come to a right angle with the rest of the hand.

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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 you’re 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.

Joint Pain Is A Common Denominator

Arthritis in the Hands//Top 5 Facts to know when you have hand arthritis

Arthritis can be separated into two types: inflammatory, such as rheumatoid arthritis , versus mechanical disease , such as osteoarthritis. Both are often characterized by joint-related symptoms. Pain involving joints knees, hips, wrists indicates the problem is arthritis, explains Andrew D. Ruthberg, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at Rush Medical College in Chicago. Back pain, neck pain, and joint swelling are also markers of arthritis.

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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

What Causes Arthritis

The cause of many types of arthritis is unknown. Researchers are looking into the role of genetics and lifestyle in the development of arthritis.

There are several things that may raise your risk for arthritis, including:

Age. Over time, your joints tend to get worn down. That’s why the risk of developing arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, goes up with age.

Sex. Most types of arthritis are more common among women, except for gout.

Genes. Certain types of arthritis run in families. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis, for example, are linked to certain genes.

Excess weight. Being overweight puts extra stress on weight-bearing joints, increasing wear and tear and the risk of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis.

Injuries. They can cause joint damage that can bring on some types of the condition.

Infection. Bacteria, viruses, or fungi can infect joints and trigger inflammation.

Work. Some jobs that use repetitive movements or heavy lifting can stress the joints or cause an injury, which can lead to arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. For example, if you need to do a lot of knee bends and squats at work, you might be more likely to get osteoarthritis.

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How Is It Treated

Some kids who have JIA might take medicine like ibuprofen to help control pain and inflammation. If the arthritis is more severe, they may need to take other medicines to help lower the pain and inflammation. Some of these medicines are pills, but others are shots.

It’s important that kids with JIA keep their joints moving. Often a kid will see a physical therapist or occupational therapist. In addition to working with children to move their joints and strengthen their muscles, these therapists can help create special exercise programs for home or school that can help a kid stay active.

In addition to joint problems, JIA may cause uveitis , an inflammation of the eye that can lead to problems with vision if it’s not treated. All kids diagnosed with JIA should get their eyes checked by an ophthalmologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating eye problems. If the eyes are affected, they may be treated with eye drops.

Besides taking medicines, a kid can do a few things to help with the symptoms of JIA:

  • Keep joints warm and stay active.
  • Take warm baths, which can make a kid’s joints hurt less.
  • Use an electric blanket on a timer that turns on 1 hour before a kid wakes up, which can help warm the joints and help a kid move better.
  • Some kids dip their hands in a special warm wax called paraffin that helps their joints ache less.
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The Importance Of Diagnosing The Right Condition

Home Remedies for Arthritis in Hands

When it comes to initial symptoms, people tend to self-treat before consulting a doctor. Perhaps no harm comes from taking a stab at self-treatment, but theres likely no significant benefit either. Typically, people try common over-the-counter treatments, hoping something will make a difference. Many people who choose to self-treat find that symptoms persist. They realize they are treading water, if not getting worse, without doctors input. Others continue to self-treat or just live with their symptoms, risking the consequences that come from delaying appropriate treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that while more than 10 million Americans have chronic joint symptoms, most have not been evaluated or treated by a doctor. Of the 2.2 million people believed to have rheumatoid arthritis in the U.S., more than 700,000 have not been diagnosed or treated. Of the 1.5 million who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, more than 800,000 are under the care of a primary care physician, not a rheumatologist .

Few joints may be involved in the initial consultation with a doctor. There may not be much revealed when results come back from blood tests or X-rays. But your doctor will order more extensive tests until a diagnosis can be made.

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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.

What Are The Parts Of A Joint

Joints get cushioned and supported by soft tissues that prevent your bones from rubbing against each other. A connective tissue called articular cartilage plays a key role. It helps your joints move smoothly without friction or pain.

Some joints have a synovial membrane, a padded pocket of fluid that lubricates the joints. Many joints, such as your knees, get supported by tendons and ligaments. Tendons connect muscles to your bones, while ligaments connect bones to other bones.

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What Osteoarthritis Pain Feels Like

Pain is pain, right? It just plain hurts. But for your doctor to figure out whether your joint pain stems from osteoarthritis, which develops as cartilage wears away, youll need to be specific about when the pain occurs, how bad it is, and the ways its affecting you.

Here are some common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis that may help you identify and better describe your pain to your doctor:

  • Pain that aches deep into the joint
  • Pain that feels better with rest
  • Pain that isnt noticeable in the morning but gets worse throughout the day
  • Pain that radiates into your buttocks, thighs, or groin
  • Joint pain that affects your posture and gait and may cause limping
  • Pain that occurs after using the joint
  • Swelling in the joint

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Can Imaging Exams Detect Arthritis

Everything You Need To Know About Knee Arthritis – Symptoms & Causes

Imaging exams can help your healthcare provider get a clear picture of your bones, joints and soft tissues. An X-ray, MRI or ultrasound can reveal:

  • Bone fractures or dislocations that may be causing you joint pain.
  • Cartilage breakdown around your joints.
  • Muscle, ligament or tendon injuries near your joints.
  • Soft tissue inflammation.

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How Different Types Of Arthritis Affect Your Joints Differently

Do you believe your joint pain is caused by arthritis? With over 100 different types of arthritis identified, knowing the type you have could be the key to relieving your pain and inflammation. A qualified specialist can correctly diagnose your arthritis type and properly manage your symptoms with a targeted regimen.

At Western Orthopaedics in Arvada and Denver, Colorado, our team of orthopaedic specialists has many years of combined experience diagnosing and treating the various forms of arthritis. They can properly classify your arthritis type and treat your joint pain and any other symptoms.

Inflammatory Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis: Causes And Symptoms

Arthritis actually describes over 100 different conditions that affect joints and the surrounding tissue. They fall into two main categories: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis .

Inflammatory arthritis is a systemic disease in which the mechanisms that normally protect your body attack your own joints and tissues instead. The most well-known example is rheumatoid arthritis its hallmark symptom is prolonged stiffness and achiness in the morning after waking up. RA also tends to be symmetrical, meaning youll have problems in the same joints on both sides of your body, like both wrists or both knees.

The second type of arthritis and the most common form is osteoarthritis. A degenerative disorder, its caused by trauma or age-related wear and tear on your joints over time. Osteoarthritis is most likely to affect weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hip, lower spine or big toe, but it can also cause pain and stiffness in your thumb or finger joints.

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Should I See A Doctor

Its common to have aches and pains in your muscles and joints from time to time. This may especially be true if you take part in unusual or strenuous physical activities.

So, how can you tell the difference between the early signs of arthritis and normal pain and stiffness? And, how do you know when you should see a doctor about your symptoms?

If you have swelling or stiffness that you cant explain and that doesn’t go away in a few days, or if it becomes painful to touch your joints, you should see a doctor. The earlier you get a diagnosis and start the right type of treatment, the better the outcome will be.

Here are some other things to think about that might help you decide whether you need to see a doctor:

What Do Doctors Do

Rheumatoid Arthritis Exercises

Just because a joint hurts doesn’t mean a kid has JIA. A joint might hurt for a lot of different reasons, which is why it’s important to see a doctor to figure out what the problem is.

The doctor will ask a lot of questions: How long has the kid had joint problems? Does he or she feel stiff when getting up or after resting? Are the joints swollen? Was there an injury? Could another problem be causing arthritis, such as Lyme disease? Is there a family history of arthritis or other autoimmune diseases?

Getting these answers and doing a physical exam, blood tests, and X-rays will help the doctor figure out if it is JIA. If your doctor thinks you may have it, he or she may send you to see a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis. This kind of doctor is called a rheumatologist .

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