There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and it can affect people of all ages. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis may develop because of infections or injuries to the joints that exacerbate the breakdown of cartilage located in them. People may also develop osteoarthritis as a part of the aging process when the cartilage breaks down with age. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that develops when the immune system attacks the synovium, a tissue that produces fluid to help cushion the joints. Both types of arthritis can be very painful and debilitating. It is important for people to recognize the early symptoms of arthritis and to see their doctors for help.
Three Common Signs of Arthritis
People who have arthritis may experience joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. These symptoms may come and go. They may also range in severity from mild to debilitating. When people experience these symptoms, some simply don't consider arthritis as a possibility, especially if they are younger. Others may think that arthritis is something that they just have to deal with as they get older and may not talk about it with their doctors. There are other symptoms of arthritis that people may experience, including:
- Reductions in the range of motion
- Symptoms that are worse in the mornings
- Reddening of the skin around the affected joints
- Losses of appetite
People who have rheumatoid arthritis that is left untreated may have severe deformities to their joints. Some types of arthritis may also damage people's internal organs, including the heart. People may also suffer severe functional limitations and have problems with walking, grasping items and other issues.
It is not always possible to prevent arthritis, but there are steps that people can take to lessen their risk of developing it. People should make certain to keep their weight in check so that their joints won't be damaged. They should also eat healthy diets with foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They should avoid injuring their joints by using safety gear when playing sports. Drinking plenty of water and alcohol in moderation may also help to lower the risk of developing arthritis. People who have already started to develop arthritis should see their doctors for treatment. Arthritis is a progressive disease, and the longer that people wait to get medical help, the worse their conditions may become. The doctors at Mid-Atlantic Orthopedic Associates may be able to help to slow the progression of your arthritis and to suggest lifestyle changes that may help. Contact Mid-Atlantic Orthopedic Associates for more information about orthopedic care today.