Arthritis is a rheumatic condition. It is characterized by joint inflammation and is also used to define about 200 other conditions that affect joints. Arthritis is most commonly found in adult people over the age of 65, but it can also develop in children, teens or younger adults. This condition is more common in women than men and also in people who are obese. In this article we are analyzing arthritis symptoms, causes and diagnosis.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis refers to the condition where inflammation of joints occurs. It can affect either one joint or multiple joints. There are about 100 different types of arthritis diagnosed till date and each type of arthritis has its own unique causes and treatment methods. The most common types of arthritis found on people are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). Usually the symptoms develop over time, but they can also appear suddenly.
The most common symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, swelling and also stiffness. It may also limit your range of motion, like mobility or flexibility of joints. There might be redness present on the skin around joints. For many people the symptoms will get worse in the morning.
In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, you might experience loss of appetite or tiredness because of the inflammation caused by the activity of the immune system. You might have a slight fever or can become anemic which means that the count of your red blood cells will decrease. If not treated properly, rheumatoid arthritis can result in joint deformity.
Causes of Arthritis
Some forms of Arthritis are caused by the reduction in the normal amount of a tissue called cartilage tissue, which is a flexible yet firm connective tissue present in your joints, which is responsible for their protection. The tissue absorbs the shock and pressure in the joints when you move or stress them, thereby avoiding any damage happening to the joints.
Another type of arthritis called osteoarthritis is caused by normal wear and tear. There is a high possibility for you to develop this arthritis, if your ancestors suffered with the same.
When you consult a physician he can perform some basic tests, like examining the presence of redness or swelling in the joints or checking the fluid around the joints. But if your condition is severe you will be referred to a rheumatologist who can easily diagnose your symptoms and treatments.
By analyzing your blood and joint fluids your doctor can find the inflammation levels you are experiencing. Blood tests that analyze the presence of certain antibodies like anti-CCP, ANA (antinuclear antibody) and RF (rheumatoid factor) can also be used to diagnose arthritis.