Arthritis is a rheumatoid disease wherein the joints become inflamed, causing severe pain for the sufferer. There are over a hundred different types of arthritis. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which is due to the normal use and wear and tear of cartilage. Some arthritis is because of a dysfunction in the immune system, such as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. There are various causes to arthritis, such as an abnormality in a person’s metabolism, heredity, injury and infection. Whatever the cause, pain is the result.
If you suspect you have arthritis, here’s what you need to look out for.
- Check your joints. If you feel pain in your joints, you may have arthritis. Unless you have previous injuries to the area, there shouldn’t be any pain or swelling in the joints. Feel if there are any bumps. Look at the skin and see if there is any skin discoloration, especially redness to signify inflammation. Compare the one side of the body with the other, to see if one hand looks swollen compared to the other. Any significant or noticeable differences should be discussed with your doctor.
- See if you have any stiffness. Range of movement may be limited if you have arthritis. Determine if you have free range of movement without pain. If particular positions cause you pain, alert your doctor. Pain and immobility are major signs that there’s a problem.
- Check if you have crepitus. If your joints make a cracking sound while you move it, you may have arthritis.
- Go to the doctor. The sure way to diagnose if you have arthritis is to talk to your doctor. Your physician is trained to look out for the symptoms. He may also order a battery of tests to make an accurate diagnosis. If you want an expert who specializes in arthritis treatment and care, ask to be referred to a rheumatologist.
- Get a blood test done. A blood test is performed to rule out other factors and medical conditions. With a small blood sample, doctors are able to make an assessment on the overall health of the patient. The rheumatoid factor is checked during the blood test, to determine if there’s a possibility of rheumatoid arthritis. It will be high in patients who suffer from this condition. Another element that is being checked during a blood test is the erythrocyte sedimentation rate because this is an inflammation indicator. C-Reactive proteins are also checked because levels will be high in patients with inflammation. Uric acid levels and anti-nuclear antibodies are assessed. With a blood test, a doctor can also perform an anti-CCP test to check for rheumatoid arthritis.
- Have an x-ray performed. One of the most common ways of detecting arthritis is to get an x-ray of the area in pain. An inflammation or deformity can be detected with an x-ray. Most doctors are satisfied with x-ray results, although in some cases, an MRI may be done.
These are some ways to see if you have arthritis. If you exhibit any physical symptoms, have pain, fever or other discomfort when moving, get a checkup done right away. Men, women and even children can suffer from this condition so go to a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.