Do I have arthritis?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 23% of all adults in the United States suffer from arthritis. There are over 100 types of arthritis; the most common type is osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of autoimmune arthritis. Other infectious or inflammatory processes such as psoriasis can cause arthritis as well.
What are early symptoms of arthritis?
- Tender swollen joints
- Joint stiffness
- Redness around the joint Fatigue
Because there are so many types, the exact type of arthritis may not be easily diagnosed, and multiple tests or exams may be needed.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
- Physical exam
- Blood test to detect inflammation or autoimmune markers
- Musculoskeletal computed tomography (CT)
- Musculoskeletal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Musculoskeletal ultrasound
How can my arthritis be treated?
- Pharmaceutical: Medications may be of use to reduce inflammation and pain. Some medications may be useful in treating an underlying disease.
- Therapy: Such as physical, massage, and water therapy may improve flexibility and improve strength.
- Surgery: Joint replacement or joint fusion surgery may be needed if more conservative options cannot relieve symptoms or restore function.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you suffer from symptoms of arthritis. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to help avoid chronic pain and permanent joint damage.