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Arthritis Symptoms and Diagnosis

Updated on March 11, 2011

Arthritis Diagnosis

If you suffer from any kind of arthritis you will know how difficult it can be to describe your condition to others, it can also be very difficult to understand the condition yourself.

There are in excess of 200 different types of arthritis so is it any wonder being diagnosed is a very confusing time.

In this article I will discuss the more common types of arthritis, the symptoms of arthritis and what you can do to help yourself.

I am not a Doctor any information offered is my opinion and interpretation, if you feel you have an arthritic condition or need specific advice you should seek a professional medical opinion.

I am not going to discuss each type of arthritis but I would draw your attention to the more common arthritis in each group, I will also add links to each respected information source.

As I said there are over 200 types of arthritis, they can be broken down into the following groups:

Inflammatory Arthritis

There are wide range of conditions when we talk about inflammatory arthritis, listed below are 3 that I seem to be common conditions.

Rheumatoid Arthritis- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic auto immune disease. As it progresses it's effects can be disabling for the RA sufferer however this depends on the level of disease and treatments. It is a very painful condition which affects a person’s ability to carry out simple everyday tasks. Often progressing rapidly causing swollen and damaged joints. Every joint risks being affected but the most common are the hands, feet and wrists. It can affect the whole body including internal organs such as the lungs, heart and eyes but this is not necessarily every RA patient.

Ankylosing Spondylitis- Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a painful condition that generally affects the spine, tendons and ligaments; however it is not limited to these areas and has the potential to affect any other joint, eyes, bowel, lungs and heart.

Gout- Gout is a fairly common form of arthritis. Symptoms include painful swelling and inflammation in one or more of the joints. Gout usually affects the big toe, but it can develop in any joint in the body

Non Inflammatory Arthritis

This list of arthritic conditions includes the most common form of arthritis, the one most of us will suffer as we age.

Osteoarthritis- Osteoarthritis the most common form of arthritis. It develops gradually and over longer periods of time. Numerous different joints can be affected, often osteoarthritis affects the hands, knees, hips, feet and spine.There is no cure for Osteoarthritis but symptoms generally dampen down over time.

Scoliosis- Scoliosis is a common condition and is a sideways curvature of the spine, the patients spinal column twists, generally pulling the ribcage out of position. Scoliosis is not a disease rather it means that the spine is curved or twisted. It is not infectious or contagious.


Connective Tissue Disease

Here are a couple of condition that you may not have heard of, even less commonly known is that they are part of the arthritic family of diseases.

Lupus- Lupus is another autoimmune disease, the patients immune system creates antibodies which attack rather than protect the person. Symptoms include  severe fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches, anaemia, general malaise and sometimes results in the destruction of organs. Lupus often is confused with other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis this can delay diagnosis.

Sjogren’s syndrome- Sjögren's Syndrome is a condition where the body’s immune system attacks parts of the body instead of fighting infection, this is mainly the white cells, which travel in the blood stream. In Sjögren's Syndrome the secretary glands which produce saliva, tears, vaginal, skin, bowel and other secretions develop a form of inflammation, similar to that seen in the joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Dry eyes, dry mouth, dry skin and also dryness of the gastrointestinal tract are all common symptoms. These symptoms can mean that patients can have difficulty swallowing foods and dryness of the large bowel can cause symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Sjögren's Syndrome sometimes occurs later in the development of other rheumatic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or scleroderm. It can also occur as a condition in its own right typically developing in women in their 30’s to 60’s. Symptoms include general muscle or joint aching and fatigue. The fatigue isn’t normal tiredness it’s a really quite overwhelming fatigue.

Arthritis Overview

This article is not an exhaustive list of arthritic conditions nor meant to be used as a diagnosis, I hope you will take from it that arthritis comes in many forms, can be difficult to diagnose and live with.

If you would like more information on these conditions follow the links above or Google trusted sources.

If you think you may have one of these conditions then I urge you to seek medical advice as soon as possible.

I would love to hear your comments

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