Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. Sometimes, it is also defined as a group of conditions which involve damage to the joints in the body. In general practice, people refer to these conditions as joint pain or arthritis pain.
There are many types of arthritis. The most common types are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis, though all have different pathologies.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, while rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are autoimmune diseases.
In rheumatoid arthritis, many other organs such as muscles, lymph nodes, the heart, and eyes are affected in addition to the joints. In psoriatic arthritis, the skin and nails are also involved. In fact, about one hundred types of arthritis have been identified.
All types of arthritis have one symptom in common — arthritis pain. This arthritis pain is usually constant and located near the affected joint. Different types of arthritis require distinctive management plans.
Although the risk of getting arthritis increases with age, arthritis can occur in anyone and at any age. The chief complaints associated with arthritis are localized pain and stiffness around the joints (though symptoms of arthritis affecting other organs like skin, eyes, heart, lymph nodes, etc. are also evident in certain types of arthritis).
A physical examination, followed by diagnostic tests, may be required. Usually, pain is the most frequent symptom of arthritis. Doctors typically check for other diagnostic signs such as swelling, tenderness, and a cracking or popping sound associated with joint movement. It is also vital to differentiate and diagnose the specific type of arthritis found in a patient.
Many diagnostic tests for arthritis are available. Tests advised to find signs of arthritis include X- rays and blood tests.
CRP is among the common arthritis diagnostic tests used to gain information about active inflammation in the body.
RA Factor is another frequently prescribed blood test used to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis.
Imaging techniques such as X-rays and CT scans evaluate damage to the joint structure.
Sometimes, joint fluid analysis is performed to identify the cause of swelling in the joints. It can also provide information about what medicines may cure the swelling.
All these diagnostic tests for arthritis, in addition to other physical signs, help medical practitioners make an accurate diagnosis of arthritis and plan its management.
For more information on arthritis, see below:
Do you Have Arthritis?
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