arthritis symptoms

Sore, stiff joints are one of the most common afflictions that come with age. Arthritis in its various forms affects more than 50 million American adults. The disease can reflect a degenerative process?a wearing away of the protective cartilage that cushions the connections between bones, such as in osteoarthritis (OA), the most common type. Or it can be due to inflammation inside the body, such as in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the joints.

No matter what form you have, arthritis symptoms are typically the same: pain, stiffness, swelling, loss of motion, and deformity in the joint. The longer the disease progresses and the more the cartilage wears away, the worse arthritis symptoms become.

Pain in the joints is the main symptom of both OA and RA. That pain can range from mild to severe, but it will usually increase with activity. Arthritis is a progressive disease. Left untreated, arthritis symptoms will get worse over time. As the joint cushioning wears away, you might notice a popping or cracking, the sound of bone rubbing against bone. The irritation from this motion causes the joint to swell up and become red and tender to the touch. Arthritis pain and stiffness can reduce your range of motion, making it more difficult to do your daily activities, from climbing stairs to exercising. Eventually, the damage will lead to permanent changes?knobs that stick out from the bone and deform your fingers and other joints.

Treatment for OA aims to reduce pain and stiffness, and slow down its progressive joint destruction. OA therapies include exercise, physical therapy, and medicines to reduce pain. Weight loss can take some of the pressure off painful joints. If all other treatments fail, surgery is an option. For RA, disease-modifying drugs slow the progression of joint damage and may stall or prevent the need for surgery.

Arthritis: Making the Diagnosis

Once your medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests have been evaluated, your medical provider may diagnose you with one of the following types of arthritis. It also is possible that you may be diagnosed with a multisystem disorder. Degenerative Arthritis OA is the main cause of degenerative arthritis. It … Read More

Managing Arthritis Symptoms: 3 Alternative Options

Alternative treatment options can be a good adjunct to medication when it comes to managing arthritis symptoms. Some of the options address physical causes of pain, but don’t forget that chronic pain is complicated. In arthritis, tissue inflammation, bone erosion, and nerve impingement can combine to “rewire” your nervous system, … Read More

Arthritis Exercises to Promote Healing, Range of Motion

The pain, stiffness, and restricted movement that accompany arthritis may seem like a good reason to curl up in bed, but exercise is beneficial in mild-to-moderate arthritis. Arthritis exercise benefits include: Healing. Exercise increases blood circulation and oxygenation within joint tissue, promoting repair. Lower risk of complications. Exercise helps protect … Read More

The Healthiest Fruits to Add to Your Diet

While all fruits are healthy choices, here is a selection of what is considered as the healthiest fruits. These sweet selections have the most documented health benefits in scientific studies. Apples One medium fresh apple has only 95 calories, yet it is rich in vitamin C and fiber, including a … Read More

Is There Such Thing as an Arthritis Diet?

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveal that approximately 52.5 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis, including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and gout. Arthritic diseases may be mild in some people but can be debilitating in others. Symptoms characterized by joint pain, swelling, and stiffness … Read More

Arthritis Gloves: Can They Reduce Pain, Swelling, or Stiffness?

The evidence is far from compelling, but a product called arthritis gloves may reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling in the hands caused by rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. There are several varieties of arthritis gloves, each designed to address different arthritis symptoms. Thermal gloves increase circulation and keep the hands warm. Compression … Read More

Healthy Desserts? Keep Your Focus on Nutritious Fruits

Fruits provide slow-digesting carbs, various types of fiber, and a host of vitamins, including A, C, E, and K plus several B vitamins. Fruits also provide many important minerals, including calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and copper, along with a cornucopia of phytochemicals. Among plant foods, fruits are especially high in … Read More

Balance Exercises for Seniors

There’s no way around it: As time passes, we tend to lose muscle mass, our organs tend to function less efficiently, and our risk of disease increases. The good news is that there is a lifestyle change we can make to mitigate these risks, and it involves exercise—particularly balance exercises … Read More

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