Do you find yourself asking “How do I know if I have arthritis?”, and you want to know what to do about treatment if you do? Arthritis affects all of the joints of your body and there are many forms of arthritis.
How Do I Know If I Have Arthritis?
To determine if you have arthritis you need to speak to your treating practitioner to determine your correct diagnosis or if you have arthritis at all. They will need to understand your symptoms and may need further diagnostic tests such as X-Rays, MRI, CT scans, or blood tests.
There are 2 main types of arthritis, inflammatory arthritis and degenerative (Osteoarthritis) arthritis.
What is Inflammatory Arthritis?
Inflammatory arthritis occurs when joint inflammation is caused by an overactive immune system. This form of arthritis will usually affect many different joints around the body at the same time. Inflammatory arthritis is not as common as Osteoarthritis and while most of the time occurs in older people it is also found in younger ages particularly people in their 20s and 30s.
A few common forms of Inflammatory Arthritis include;
- Rheumatoid Arthritis, including Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
The best form of management of these forms of arthritis is early diagnosis and going on a treatment plan with your treating Doctor.
What is Osteoarthritis Arthritis?
The vast majority of people have osteoarthritis also known as degenerative arthritis, it is a chronic condition that occurs over time. This is usually due to either a previous injury or overuse of an area and is usually found in older people. This form of arthritis generally affects one joint such as a knee or hip or one area such as all the fingers in one hand. Over time this can cause some changes in your joints that you may notice on the surface such as bumps, swelling, or a change in the alignment of the joint when compared to the same joint on the other side.
This form of arthritis is typically characterised by pain, swelling & stiffness when waking in the morning or pain, swelling & stiffness followed by periods of inactivity. While in certain cases people may need surgery such as a hip or knee joint replacement, with early diagnosis many people can manage their symptoms.
What can you do if you have arthritis?
- It is important to minimise the activity that makes the area worse or is the primary cause of the problem.
- Maintaining joint mobility is vital for the health of all joints and maintaining an active lifestyle is part of this. This can include walking or swimming or joining group classes such as yoga or pilates. It’s important that whatever you do doesn’t aggravate the area.
- Do some exercise to strengthen the area. Talk to your practitioner to get an appropriate exercise program that will strengthen the affected area.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Stay positive, many people live an active healthy lifestyle with arthritis and there is no reason you shouldn’t either.