Friday, December 9, 2022

How Do You Determine If You Have Arthritis

Telltale Symptoms Of Arthritis

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When most people talk about arthritis, theyre referring to general pain in the joints. But they dont realize that arthritis is merely a broad term for more than 100 unique conditions that affect your joints. Some are more common than others, with the two most prevalent being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Here at Roswell Pain and Weight Loss Specialists, Dr. Damon Christian Kimes cares for arthritic patients throughout the greater Roswell, Georgia, area and helps them find real pain relief from their progressive condition.

Although each type of arthritis has unique characteristics, all types involve inflammation of the joints. In the early stages, it may be difficult to know if you have the onset of arthritis or aches and pain related to another condition or injury. If you think you might be one of the more than 54 million Americans with arthritis, here are some telltale signs that will let you know.

Do Certain Types Of Weather Make Arthritis Worse

Some people find that arthritis feels worse during certain types of weather. Humidity and cold are two common triggers of joint pain.

There are a variety of reasons why this might happen. People tend to be less active in rainy seasons and the wintertime. The cold and damp can also stiffen joints and aggravate arthritis. Other theories suggest that barometric pressure, or the pressure of the air around us, may have some effect on arthritis.

If you find that certain types of weather make your arthritis worse, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to manage your symptoms. Dressing warmly, exercising inside or using heat therapy may help relieve your pain.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. There are many types of arthritis, all of which can cause pain and reduce mobility. Some forms of arthritis result from natural wear and tear. Other types come from autoimmune diseases or inflammatory conditions. There are a variety of treatments for arthritis, ranging from physical or occupational therapy to joint surgery. Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms and recommend the right treatment plan for your needs. Most people can successfully manage arthritis and still do the activities they care about.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/15/2021.

References

Early Stage Signs And Symptoms

A person can develop RA at any stage in their life. However, the condition most commonly develops between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.

People with early stage RA may not see redness and swelling in their joints. However, they may experience some joint tenderness and pain. A general feeling of stiffness throughout the body in the morning may suggest a person has RA.

Someone with early stage RA may also experience fatigue. Fatigue can be both mental and physical and can cause a person to feel extremely tired, preventing them from performing their usual daily tasks.

The inflammation that comes with RA may cause a person to develop a fever. A person has a fever if their body temperature rises above the typical range of 98100°F . Fever is a common sign of inflammation in people with autoimmune diseases.

A person may also experience weight loss due to the inflammation from RA. In addition, someone with fatigue and fever may experience appetite loss, which can contribute to weight loss.

As the inflammatory process of RA progresses, symptoms can worsen. A person may experience more extreme fatigue and continue to have fevers and lose weight.

Common symptoms of RA include the below.

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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.

What Are The Parts Of A Joint

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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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Is There A Special Preparation Needed For An X

There is no special preparation required for an arthritis X-Ray. The only people who should consider are the pregnant women. The pregnant women must inform the technician about their pregnancy because the exposure to radiation may cause harm to the fetus, so it must be minimized.

At the time of X-Ray, a person should take off their jewelry before taking a test. There could be a requirement to remove some clothes, depending on the body parts to be tested. The technician will provide some something to cover the body part.

Why You Have Arthritis

There are over 100 different types ofarthritis that can develop as you get older or following an injury. The many types of arthritis target your joints, causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness and limiting your joints flexibility.

The two most common types of arthritis that affect many adults in the United States include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Recognizing Early Symptoms Of Arthritis

  • 1Take notice of any joint pain. Joint pain is the most characteristic symptom of all types of arthritis.XTrustworthy SourceArthritis FoundationMain organization devoted to arthritis support and educationGo to source You might notice the pain after exercising or using the joints extensively, which is the case with “wear and tear” arthritis , or upon waking and after periods of disuse, which is more characteristic of RA.
  • Arthritic pain is usually described as dull, achy and/or throbbing. The more destructive types of arthritis can also generate sharp and electric-type pain.
  • Arthritic pain usually starts out mild, then progressively gets worse. The pain levels of OA gradually worsen, whereas some really inflammatory types become extremely painful very suddenly.
  • 2Look for joint swelling and redness. Although the term arthritis literally means joint inflammation, some types involve much more swelling than others. In general, the wear and tear of OA doesn’t lead to much swelling or redness. In contrast, RA involves lots of swelling and redness because the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule . Gout is also known for lots of inflammation due to the deposit of sharp uric acid crystals within joint capsules, particularly of the big toe.XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • RA not only causes severe inflammation in affected joints , but also low-grade inflammation throughout the body.
  • Rheumatoid Factor And Anti

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    One blood test measures levels of rheumatoid factors in the blood. Rheumatoid factors are proteins that the immune system produces when it attacks health tissue.

    About half of all people with rheumatoid arthritis have high levels of rheumatoid factors in their blood when the disease starts, but about 1 in 20 people without rheumatoid arthritis also test positive.

    A related blood test known as anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide test is also available. Anti-CCPs are antibodies also produced by the immune system.

    People who test positive for anti-CCP are very likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, but not everybody with rheumatoid arthritis has this antibody.

    Those who test positive for both rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP may be more likely to have severe rheumatoid arthritis requiring higher levels of treatment.

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    Staying Physically Active Despite Hand Arthritis

    Your doctor will tell you and probably has already that staying physically active is an important part of managing arthritis. In fact, according to a study of 5,715 adults with arthritis over age 65, a lack of regular, vigorous physical activity doubled the risk of functional decline. In other words, the less physically active the participants were, the more likely they were to become disabled.

    Of course, despite data showing that physical activity helps people with arthritis become stronger and more flexible, anyone with arthritis will tell you that sometimes pain or stiffness makes it hard to get going, let alone lift weights at the gym. People with arthritis often give up activities they think of as optional, such as exercising or gardening, in order to have enough energy for the activities they feel obligated to do, such as cleaning the house. One study found that only 13 percent of men and 8 percent of women with arthritis met federal guidelines of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.

    If symptoms of arthritis in your hands or elsewhere are preventing you from participating in the physical activities you used to enjoy and that are good for you it may be time to find new ways to be active. For example, you may want to experiment with water activities such as swimming, or try tai chi, dance, or walking .

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    What Support Devices Can Help Manage Arthritis

    • Orthotic shoes or insoles help support your feet when you walk.
    • Crutches, a cane, or a walker may help decrease your risk for falling. They also decrease stress on affected joints.
    • Devices to prevent falls include raised toilet seats and bathtub bars to help you get up from sitting. Handrails can be placed in areas where you need balance and support.
    • Devices to help with support and rest include splints to wear on your hands and a firm pillow while you sleep. Use a pillow that is firm enough to support your neck and head.

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    Tests That Help Diagnose Ra

    To help confirm or disprove RA, your rheumatologist will also have lab tests done. The lab tests would point to likelihood of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as potentially rule out other possibilities on the differential diagnosis, says Dr. Neogi. These tests may include:

    Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein blood tests detect and measure inflammation in your body. If inflammation levels are elevated, it helps build the case for an RA diagnosis. If inflammation levels are normal, says Dr. Neogi, That might dissuade us from thinking about an inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, but would not rule it out. Since inflammation is present in many diseases, these tests do not confirm whether you have RA by themselves.

    Rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody blood tests look for proteins associated with RA. Testing positive for one increases your chances of RA diagnosis, while testing positive for both raises your odds even more. However, up to 50 percent of RA patients dont have RF or anti-CCP antibodies. They are diagnosed based on other factors. In these cases, the RA is considered to be seronegative.

    The possibility of some autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and Sjögrens syndrome, can be eliminated with the help of an antinuclear antibody blood test, while a synovial fluid analysis, which examines the fluid that lubricates your joints, can help count out gout by looking for crystals under the microscope.

    Assessing Your Physical Ability

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    If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, your specialist will do an assessment to see how well you’re coping with everyday tasks.

    You may be asked to fill in a questionnaire on how well you can do things like dress, walk and eat, and how good your grip strength is.

    This assessment may be repeated after your treatment, to see if you have made any improvements.

    Further information

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    Coping With Low Mood And Sleep Problems

    Living with pain can affect your mood and sleep, and its normal to feel low from time to time. If this is something that affects you, try going along to a pain clinic, where you can learn how to manage your pain. Theyll usually take place at outpatient clinics, and you can be referred to them by whoever is treating you.

    Pain can be affected by different things, including feeling low or stressed. There are a number of talking therapies and techniques you can learn, which can help you manage your pain, support your emotional wellbeing, and deal with any low feelings you might have. Mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy can help with osteoarthritis.

    Learning to relax your muscles can also help, particularly if you have neck pain and are feeling stressed, as this can cause your muscles to become more tense.

    A pillow thats too firm or thick can make neck pain worse. Try to sleep with your head level to the rest of your body. Its important to have a mattress that gives your head and spine proper support.

    Try having a hot bath, reading a book, or listening to the radio or a relaxation CD to wind down before bed. If pain is waking you during the night, try taking paracetamol or another painkiller before bed. Talk to your doctor or a sleep expert for more advice.

    How Is Arthritis Diagnosed And Evaluated

    When diagnosing arthritis, your doctor will likely do a complete physical examination of your entire body, including your spine, joints, skin and eyes. You may undergo blood tests to detect markers of inflammation. In cases where an infection or gout is suspected, it may be useful to draw some fluid from a joint with a needle in order to analyze the contents of the material. In addition, your physician may order one or more of the following imaging tests:

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    Can I Still Drive If I Have Arthritis

    If your arthritis affects your ability to drive, you must let the DVLA know. This doesnt mean that you will have to stop driving, but it’s a legal obligation for you to declare certain conditions to the DVLA.

    Youll also have to let your insurance company know, but they arent allowed to charge you any more because of your condition. If you have an accident you haven’t declared a health condition, your insurance might not cover you.

    Our information guide In the Driving Seat has more information about driving with health conditions and making adaptations to your car.

    Learning When You’re Stiff

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    RA-related stiffness is usually worst in the morning and lasts about an hour, Dr. Khan says: The fingers are tight. They have a hard time movingthey feel like the Tin Manand then as they get moving, in half an hour to an hour, symptoms get better. Any extended period of sitting or just not moving can cause RA joints to stiffen up, too. Osteoarthritis stiffness typically happens for less time later in the day, after physical activity.

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    Recognizing Advanced Symptoms Of Arthritis

  • 1Be aware of reduced range of motion. As pain, inflammation, stiffness and/or damage progresses within joints, you eventually begin to lose the ability to move them normally. As such, reduced range of motion is a common sign of advanced arthritis and one of the main causes of disability.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source You may not be able to bend down as far or be as flexible as you once were.
  • Reduced range of motion is slow and gradual with OA, as the cartilage wears down and the bones come into contact with each other and as you form bone spurs or osteophytes.
  • With RA and PsA, range of movement often depends on the degree of joint swelling, which can come and go.XResearch source However, with time, RA and PsA are destructive to cartilage and severely limit joint movement.XResearch source
  • Septic arthritis is caused by an infection in the joint and is characterized by sudden, severe pain and difficulty using the affected joint. This type of infection can destroy a joint quickly â within weeks.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
  • Muscle atrophy is common in muscles that surround arthritic joints.
  • Weak muscles and joints feel unstable and usually shake or twitch a little when put under heavy loads.
  • Physical Therapy Guide To Osteoarthritis Of The Spine

    Read Time:

    Osteoarthritis of the spine is a condition that usually occurs with aging and is typically diagnosed after age 50. Its causes include injury to the spine, wear and tear on the discs of the spine , or an inherited tendency to develop OA. Sometimes the cause is unknown. OA of the spine may cause pain and stiffness, and make it difficult to bend over, perform weight-bearing activities, such as walking, and accomplish daily tasks such as dressing and bathing. Your physical therapist will help you manage your condition, lessen your discomfort, and get moving again.

    Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.

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