There comes a time in everyone's life when age starts to creep up on us. In some cases, the amount of damage we've done to our bodies in our youth has a way of coming back to haunt us, especially when it comes to certain types of arthritis.
As we grow older, most people wake a little stiffer in the morning and experience typical aches and pains, but how do you know if it's arthritis that's troubling you? Knowing how to identify an arthritis symptom can take a load of worry off your mind.
First of all, it's important to know what arthritis is. It's not just a disease that strikes old people. Many children, teens and young adults are diagnosed with some form of arthritis every day. While over 40 million adults suffer from one form of arthritis in the United States, nearly a quarter million of those are children.
As a matter of fact, most people who suffer from arthritis are under the age of 65, and nearly 60 percent of those are women. In addition, there are over 100 different forms of the disease, though the two most common, and generally known, are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
An arthritis symptom can be one issue, or a multitude of issues. For most, the classic symptom is joint stiffness, followed by swelling, redness and even warmth in the affected joint area. For some, these symptoms may be fleeting and may occur more often in cooler weather than warm. For some, joints may be painful and tender to the touch, while for others, pain is felt as a persistent ache that lingers for days.
Because arthritis is a rheumatic disease, arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, can affect more than just the bones, muscles and other connective tissues to involve major body organs. For some, arthritis symptom signs may also include fever, as well as an unexplained weight loss, fatigue and a general feeling of blase.
Early diagnoses of many forms of arthritis can prevent future damage to bones and tissues as well as to prevent loss of joint movement through various treatment methods such as exercise, medications and rest. If you feel that you may have an arthritis symptom, or are uncertain, schedule a visit to your doctor and explain your concerns. Your doctor may ask for a series of x-rays to determine bone health and size, and he or she may also request blood work to determine what's going on.
In many cases, primary care physicians will refer people to a rheumatologist, or in plain English, an arthritis doctor, in order to determine exactly what form of arthritis you may be suffering from. However, keep in mind that just because you wake up occasionally with achy joints doesn't mean you have arthritis. Knowing your body is the key.
Most people are able to determine when something's not quite right with their body, and accompanying pain is often an indication that it's time to visit the doctor. Early diagnosis of arthritis can prevent further damage and help you to get back to that healthy, active lifestyle that you've always enjoyed.
Knowing your body and understanding different arthritis symptom clues may greatly enhance your chances of maintaining that lifestyle, so always listen when your body is trying to tell you something.