Do you want to make sure that you maintain your mobility and functionality in your later years? If so, then you may be curious about the early warning signs of arthritis. Arthritis is one of the most common disorders from which people suffer. It can show up at any age, but it most commonly shows up in elderly individuals.
Even though there are many types of arthritis, all of them impact the joints of the body. Your joints are responsible for the mobility, flexibility, and range of motion you enjoy in your neck, back, arms, and legs. If you develop arthritis, the cartilage inbetween the surfaces of your joints may start to degrade and you might develop severe joint inflammation. As a result, you may have a difficult time moving easily.
Similar to other medical conditions, the earlier arthritis is diagnosed, the faster it can be treated. This may improve your overall prognosis. What do you need to know about the early warning signs of arthritis?
Two Common Types of Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
Even though there are multiple types of arthritis, two of the most common types include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. First, osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease. This means that the cartilage between your joints tends to degrade over time. In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that your immune system is responsible for attacking the synovium between your joints, leading to inflammation.
It may be helpful to take a closer look at some of the other differences as well. These include:
- With osteoarthritis, you may develop stiffness in the morning that lasts for approximately 30 minutes. In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis leads to morning stiffness that lasts for a significantly longer amount of time.
- With osteoarthritis, the symptoms are asymmetrical. This means that you may have symptoms on one half of your body that you do not have on the other half. With rheumatoid arthritis, the involvement is usually symmetrical. Whatever you have on one side of the body you should have on the other side as well.
- With osteoarthritis, you may develop large lumps called Heberden’s nodes. These usually do not show up and rheumatoid arthritis.
It is important to understand the differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis because the treatment plans could vary depending on how severe the condition is. This means you need to be able to spot the signs of arthritis as quickly as possible so you can seek the care of a medical provider.
The Early Warning Signs of Arthritis
There are several early warning signs that you may notice with arthritis. These include:
- You might notice pain and stiffness around one or more of your joints. For example, you may notice that your knuckles, wrists, or ankles are not quite as loose as they used to be.
- You might also notice swelling in some areas of your body. For example, you might notice that your hands and feet are starting to swell.
- You may notice that you get a bit looser after you have been moving for a while. Then, when you are inactive for a few hours, you may start to get stiff again.
- You might notice that you are not nearly as flexible as you used to be. The range of motion of your joints might be significantly less.
- You might feel like you are falling ill a little more often. You may notice you are tired, feverish, or even losing weight.
Even though arthritis may start slowly, it can progress over time. Therefore, you should not ignore these symptoms. A doctor might be able to run some tests, figure out if you have a form of arthritis, and begin a treatment plan that can slow the progression of symptoms while preserving your mobility.
How Is Arthritis Diagnosed and Treated?
If you visit the doctor because you are concerned you might be developing arthritis, there are several steps to follow. First, the doctor is going to talk with you to learn more about how your symptoms developed. Then, your doctor is going to conduct a detailed physical exam to figure out exactly where the symptoms are located, how bad they are, and if there is any stiffness or swelling present.
After this, the doctor may run some blood tests or take some X-rays. This is important for figuring out where the condition is located and whether you might have any inflammatory markers that indicate one form of arthritis over another.
Finally, after the doctor has made a diagnosis, he or she will help you develop a treatment plan. You might have physical therapy as a part of your treatment plan, and you may have prescription medications given to you that might slow the progression of symptoms. Even though surgery is unusual for individuals with arthritis, the doctor will work with you personally to discuss all treatment options available.
Rely on Zion Medical for Help with Arthritis Treatment
Arthritis is a condition that commonly impacts the elderly, but it can present at any age. Therefore, if you are developing any of the symptoms above, you need to see a doctor as early as possible. If you can catch arthritis early, you may be able to halt the progression of symptoms. This could help you preserve your mobility and flexibility.
If you are looking for someone in the local Daytona Beach, FL area who can help you with arthritis, then look no further than Zion Medical, Inc. We have a tremendous amount of experience working with people suffering from arthritis. We can diagnose your condition and develop a treatment plan that has been customized to meet your specific needs. Our goal is to work with you and your family members personally, helping you maintain your quality of life. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, please contact us today!