Taking Your Arthritis Diagnosis in Stride
There are actually over 100 different forms of arthritis and arthritis-related diseases including gout, osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and fibromyalgia. What these conditions have in common is the fact that they will attack one’s joints and lead to issues such as chronic inflammation, ongoing pain, and a limited range of motion. For patients who have recently been diagnosed with arthritis, read ahead for a look at some of the most common symptoms of these conditions and what your treatment options will look like in the coming years.
Why Do I Have Arthritis?
What exactly caused your arthritis will come down to what type of arthritis you have been diagnosed with. Patients who have RA or psoriatic arthritis are actually dealing with an autoimmune disease that is attacking the lining of their joints. Other forms of arthritis are the result of trauma to a specific joint or repetitive movements such as typing. Practically any medical condition that affects one’s cartilage, bones, or muscles can either cause arthritis or worsen this condition.
Identifying Your Symptoms
Arthritis symptoms change between every single patient, but there are a few common side effects that everyone should keep an eye out for. For most people, these conditions begin with minor aches and pains around joints. This is especially common in elderly patients and those who have experienced joint injuries in the past. As time goes on, you might also notice issues such as red and swollen joints. Everyday activities like cooking a meal can become uncomfortable or completely impossible due to arthritis pain. For many people, arthritis causes mobility and dexterity issues due to swollen knuckles and sore knees.
Diagnosing this particular condition is going to require a thorough physical screening as well as a look at the patient’s medical history. Your doctor might start off by asking about the severity of your discomfort, when it started, and how it is affecting your day-to-day activities. They will also need to know about any immediate family members who have ever been diagnosed with arthritis. A physical test will then need to be carried out and images will be taken of the patient’s joints. For unique forms of arthritis such gout and RA, the doctor might suggest testing the patient’s blood.
Your Personalized Arthritis Treatment Plan
As soon as a patient is diagnosed with arthritis, they will want to start taking steps to manage the side effects and prevent further damage to their joints. This often includes a series of lifestyle changes such as losing weight, physical therapy, and the use of orthotic devices. Strengthening your support muscles and limiting the amount of pressure on your joints are two of the most effective ways to manage the side effects.
As for medication, most doctors will suggest the use of painkillers and anti-inflammatories. For advanced cases of arthritis, surgery might be needed to smooth the bone, remove damaged cartilage, or replace the joint entirely.