Arthritis Symptoms

Friday, November 12, 2010

When someone says arthritis, the first thing that comes to mind is painful joints. However, since there are over a hundred different types of arthritis, the arthritis symptoms can be quite variable and will include not just joint pains. In this article, you will learn what are the certain signs and arthritis symptoms associated with this debilitating disease that affects millions.



It’s not a Sports Injury

One of the concerns frequently raised by those suffering from what could be arthritis symptoms is that the signs are far too similar to the symptoms commonly associated with a sports injury. How do you know the difference? The first step consists in determining what caused the arthritis symptoms to erupt. Ask yourself the following questions for instance:

* Did it happen all of a sudden?
* Have you recently engaged in strenuous activities?
* Do the arthritis symptoms, particularly the pain, intensify later in the day?
* Do you experience stiffness and general discomfort around the joints even while resting?

Answering all of the above questions will help you determine what caused these arthritis symptoms to occur in the first place. Some people take the first action by “doctoring” themselves, taking over the counter pain killers, rubbing on arthritis creams, applying ice packs, using heating pads, and the like. But self-treatment is strongly discouraged upon since there’s a higher chance that a patient may wait too long before consulting a doctor.

Where does it hurt?

Arthritis is a disease of the joints, hence, arthritis symptoms will most likely affect the joints. The joint is that area where two or more bones meet. Joints of the body commonly affected by arthritis symptoms include the fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, and hips. In some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, the symptoms could also occur in the joints of the spinal column. Additionally, rare cases of arthritis may affect the skin (psoriatic arthritis) as well as other organs of the body.

Inflammation

Next to pain, the most common arthritis symptoms are inflammation. The inflammation is often accompanied by pain, redness, heat, and swelling. Although inflammation can make things very inconvenient for the person suffering from such arthritis symptoms, the process itself is actually the body’s basic response to injury.
Usually, inflammation occurs when the body’s immune system gets to work, bringing plasma proteins and phagocytes (or white blood cells that engulf and consume foreign material and debris) to the injured area. The reason is primarily to initiate tissue repair. However, with arthritic inflammation, the immune system is at fault since instead of defending it attacks the surrounding tissue, triggering the inflammatory response.

Only a few types of arthritis actually display this particular symptom, including:

* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Gout
* Tendonitis
* Bursitis
* Polymyalgia rheumatica

Joint Deformity and Loss of Range of Motion

In some types of arthritis, the friction caused by the movement of bones in the joints stimulates the cartilage and surrounding connective tissue to produce new bone outgrowth. These outgrowths are known as spurs and are one of the major arthritis symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Another tell tale sign of arthritis is bow legged, a condition wherein the legs curve outwards as a result of an arthritic knee. Most arthritis causes the loss of full range of motion, leaving patients mostly immobile and in severe cases even permanently disabled. In order to avoid this from happening, consult your doctor and determine what appropriate steps to take to halt disease progression.

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