(HealthNewsDigest.com) - It is not always to pinpoint the pain you are regularly experiencing and whether it is arthritis that you are suffering from, which is why it often requires the services of a doctor to confirm your suspicions.
The first thing to say is that if you are diagnosed as having arthritis you would not be alone. About one in five Americans suffers from arthritis in at least one joint.
There are many people who think they have the condition and subsequently seek out arthritis remedies without seeing their doctor, mainly because they think it is just part of getting old and a bit of joint pain is something they will have to put up with.
Arthritis at any age
There are numerous myths surrounding arthritis and in addition to many falsely believing that there is nothing you can do about the condition, there is also a common misconception that arthritis only affects older people.
Younger patients who are suffering from joint pain, swelling or stiffness would most likely not even give a thought to the idea that they might actually have arthritis, but it is a condition that can affect anyone including children.
Many different types of arthritis
One of the principle reasons why it normally requires a doctor to confirm that you have arthritis, is that there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions, which makes it a difficult condition to diagnose successfully.
Another reason why it is sometimes challenging for medical professionals to confirm that you have the condition is the fact that it is a condition that starts off slowly, affecting you in certain ways over a period of time, or alternatively, it can start suddenly and create intense pain for the sufferer that lasts for a few hours at a time.
As the symptoms are changeable between patients and can come and go over time, this makes the diagnosis more challenging, and means that complaints of swelling and stiffness as well as joint pain, might be arthritis, or it might be an injury you have sustained.
Understanding the symptoms
You should definitely consult your doctor if you are experiencing what you consider to be signs of arthritis, so that you can get a professional opinion to confirm or deny your fears.
The first symptom of arthritis that you will experience is most likely to be pain.
This pain can be in the form of a dull ache or could feel more like a burning sensation in a particular joint, especially if you have just been using it for a specific exercise or activity and put it under a bit more pressure or extra use.
Other people with arthritis also complain of feeling a lot achier when the weather is wet and damp conditions can certainly contribute to the classic symptoms of arthritis.
In addition to the pain you are experiencing you will probably experience some swelling as well.
This swelling occurs as a result of your body releasing a fluid called synovium, which it does in an attempt to act as a substitute for the cartilage you have lost. Its purpose is to try and act as a cushion, but the effect of this fluid being released into the joint space is you will experience an often painful swelling which will also serve to restrict your movement more than usual.
Signs of osteoarthritis
If you wake up feeling sore first thing in the morning and it seems to take a good few minutes for your joints to get working again after resting, this could well be one of the early signs of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is one type of arthritis which is more likely to affect your larger weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees and lower back.
You may also find that it affects your fingers, toes and neck as well, but what you may find that the onset of osteoarthritis is signalled by a pain in just one joint at the beginning, followed by a progression of other joints being affected as time goes on.
What you will find with rheumatoid arthritis is that the disease is symmetrical, so if you are suffering from a swollen and painful finger for example, you will be also be experiencing the same pain in the opposite finger.
Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts in the smaller joints of your fingers and toes although you might also experience pain in a larger joint at the onset of the condition, such as pain in your knee or shoulder.
These just a few of the main symptoms and versions arthritis that you might suffer from, but you really do owe it to your joints and your general health, to get a proper diagnosis rather than thinking the pain will go away or there is nothing that can be done.
Jenny Bennett works as a registered dietician. She enjoys posting her wellness insights online. Look for her articles on many healthy living sites.
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