Arthritis is one of the most common diseases in America, affecting one out of every three adults. Arthritis also attacks women at twice the rate of men.
There are over 100 different forms of arthritis and they attack the body differently. There are autoimmune types such as psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. There are joint infections such as septic arthritis. And then the most common type which are degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is usually caused by the wearing of cartilage between the joints. While it is more common in older individuals, younger people can suffer from osteoarthritis as well due to sports injuries, falls and strains.
If you suffer from arthritis you may notice that your joints may act up during changes in the weather. It is believed that a joint that is affected by arthritis tries to accommodate for that deficiency by producing more nerve endings than normal. This could explain why those joints seem sensitive to weather changes.
A common symptom of arthritis is mild to severe pain. The severity of the pain may increase as the day goes on or when you have more activity for that joint. Many older people or small children that suffer from arthritis will combat this pain by not moving that joint. They can become very immobile.
If you complain of a joint paint to your health professional, he or she will most likely ask if you have any other symptoms. Be sure to tell your doctor about any fevers, changes in your skin, or shortness of breath. While you think it may not be related, these symptoms can guide your doctor to a correct diagnosis. For example, if you experience a fever and joint pain, you may be suffering from septic arthritis which is a severe medical emergency. Your doctor may immediately refer you to a rheumatologist.
Your doctor will look at your symptoms, your age, your sex, your medical history, and the severity of the joint pain you are having. These clues will help guide your doctor to some possible causes. Read the rest of this entry »