How to Know If You Have Arthritis

How to Know If You Have Arthritis

Swollen joints, decreased movement, and redness can all be telltale signs.

Are you suffering from aches and pains? Does the winter season have you waking up feeling less-than-refreshed? If you are over a certain age, you might be wondering if you have arthritis. Our everyday sedentary lifestyles can bring about considerable discomfort and stiffness and it can be sometimes be difficult to tell what’s going. Here’s a rundown of telltale arthritis symptoms and tips to help you ascertain when to seek help.

Typical Arthritis Symptoms

Many people feel stiff from time to time. Arthritis comes in nine different forms and your doctor can help identify if you have one of them.

People who suffer from arthritis typically have troubles with their joints that present:

  • A decreased range of motion
  • Swollen joints
  • Painful joints
  • Redness

Sometimes swelling and a decreased range of motion is caused by an injury and it’s important to rule out other possibilities before considering arthritis.

Diagnosing Arthritis

In order to determine if you have arthritis, your doctor will conduct several tests. You may be asked to show how well, (or not so well), you can move your joints. They will also assess whether the joints in question are red and swollen, and emitting extra heat.

Next, your doctor will take a sample of some of your bodily fluids. The area around your joint will be frozen and your doctor will extract a bit of the fluid surrounding it to be analyzed. You might also undergo a blood test and a urine sample.

Similarly, imaging is also something you might undergo. X-rays, computerized tomography (CT), an ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can all help reveal what’s going on inside your body to cause your aches and pains.

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Making Lifestyle Changes

Medication is often prescribed to help ease the painful symptoms of arthritis. For example, these include creams you can rub over your joints, steroid injections, and drugs that help slow the progression of the disease and save your other joints and tissues from developing permanent damage.

It’s important to consider getting more active if you aren’t already if you have arthritis. Physical activity can do wonders for increasing your circulation and help alleviate your pain. Swimming is particularly useful as it takes the weight off your joints and helps keep you flexible.

If you’re overweight, losing some weight can also help as it lessens the stress on your body. Apply hot and cold packs to your painful areas, and implement assistive devices in your home like raised toilet seats that make life easier.

Some doctors also recommend the following alternative methods to treat arthritis pain:

  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Glucosamine supplements
  • Chondrotin supplements
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi

Arthritis can impede your freedom. Furthermore, it can make you reluctant to engage in all the activities you once did. By obtaining a professional diagnosis you can seek the right treatment and obtain expert tips and advice to help restore your level of living. Talk with your doctor and regain your quality of life.

photo credits: DimaBerlin/

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