Symptoms of Arthritis

by Amy Pusey
(last updated April 22, 2009)

The big joke has always been, "It's all downhill after 30." That is because this is the age when most people, me included, begin to feel the aches and pains resulting from the torturous activities we put our bodies through up to that point. Of course, they were not torturous at the time; they were all sorts of fun. Unfortunately, for some of us our youthful follies make us more susceptible to arthritic grievances associated with the aging process.

Before trying to figure out if you have any symptoms, it may help to know exactly how the medical community defines arthritis. Well, simply put, arthritis is the inflammation of a joint. So, what does all of your creaking and crackling really mean? Take a look at the common symptoms associated with several specific types of arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis. You have may have seen it referred to as degenerative joint disease. It is the most frequently diagnosed form of arthritis, especially in the elderly. Weight-bearing joints, such as our hips, knees, and spine, are the most affected. Familiar symptoms are joint pain and stiffness that may occur during routine or typical daily activities.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis. Interestingly, women are more often affected by this second most common type of arthritis, and it can begin to display as early as age 25. Prolonged exposure may weaken muscles and cause hands and feet to become misshapen (an example of a worst-case scenario.) Sufferers may experience general fatigue and sleeplessness, as well as the usual inflammation, painful swelling, and stiffness of the limbs.
  • Infectious Arthritis. Caused by bacterial or viral infections, it may accompany other diseases—staph infection, tuberculosis, or Lyme disease—affecting the larger arm and leg joints. Symptoms are tenderness and/or sharp pain, joint inflammation, fever, and possibly chills.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis. Yet another joint disease, this form of arthritis is often combined with skin lesions that appear red, dry and scaly in nature. Affected areas may include the smaller joints of the hands, shoulders, ankles, and elbows.

Parents take note! If a child suffers from unexplained daily or frequent fevers and possibly anemia, or demonstrates a loss of appetite and weight, or shows signs of a curious rash on the arms and legs, these are classic signs of Still's Disease, or Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, so you should make an appointment with your child's pediatrician to rule it out.

While some of these symptoms may seem alarming, early diagnosis and treatment can often prevent permanent damage. If you or someone you love is routinely experiencing any of the symptoms identified, contact a medical professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis. However, try not to panic because sometimes our aches and pains are only that.

Author Bio

Amy Pusey

With over 18 years experience in operations and human-resource management, Amy Pusey uses her skills in her consulting and freelance writing activities. She is a freelance writer for Tips.net, as well as a resume writer for GreenThumbResumes.com. ...

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