The signs of arthritis are many and varied. It cannot be discounted as an "old person's" disease because evidence of arthritis often shows up in people under the age of 65.
According to the Arthritis Foundation
, "Arthritis is actually a complex family of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of more than 100 different diseases or conditions that can affect people of all ages, races and genders." Three of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile arthritis.
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Here are nine signs and symptoms of arthritis:
1. Typical in Osteoarthritis (OA) are sore or stiff joints, especially the hips, knees, and lower back, that occur after inactivity or overuse, says the Arthritis Foundation. The stiffness that occurs after resting will usually go away with movement, and individuals with osteoarthritis will often see pain that is worse after activity or toward the end of the day. With OA, the stiffness may be particularly challenging in the morning.
2. Warm, red and swollen joints are typical of rheumatoid arthritis.
3. According to Health.com
, injuries that don’t heal as well as expected can be a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Lisa A. Mandl, assistant attending rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, told Health.com that this is more typical in young people. For instance, a patient may be playing soccer and then her knee swells. "I have seen people who have had two arthroscopic surgeries and extensive physical therapy in their knee and they have rheumatoid arthritis," says Dr. Mandl.
4. Numbness or tingling in the hands, caused by Carpal tunnel syndrome, can be a sign of arthritis. Dr. Mandl says it's important for patients to share all their symptoms so they're not just diagnosed with Carpal tunnel when it may be arthritis.
5. Fatigue is often an arthritis symptom, says the Arthritis Foundation.
"If pain is the most common and troublesome symptom of arthritis, fatigue runs a close second," the Foundation explained. "Often the two are closely related. Dealing with pain day-to-day can wear you down and cause fatigue. Being fatigued, in turn, can worsen pain and make it more difficult to manage."
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6. According to WebMD
, Cataracts are sometimes an early symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. "
These are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye. Most people need cataract surgery in their 60's. But if you have RA, you can get cataracts as early as your 30's."
7. Broken bones are another RA symptom because osteoporosis (a disease that causes bone loss) happens often with RA. "Bone loss is often very silent [lacking obvious symptoms] until you break a bone," Dr. Harry Fischer, a rheumatologist, told WebMD. "But there are ways of assessing if there is bone loss in patients who are at risk."
8. Rashes can accompany arthritis.
In particular, individuals with RA and psoriatic arthritis may develop rashes.
9. Eye problems can be caused by arthritis.
"People with RA are also at risk for Sjogrens syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can cause dryness of the eyes, mouth, nose, throat, or skin due to inflammation that stops glands from releasing moisture," says Dr. Mandl.
This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.
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