Arthritis is a joint disorder. Painful and swollen joints characterise the condition. There are lots of different types of arthritis, but the main two types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms differ slightly between the different types of arthritis. If you think you have arthritis, then a proper diagnosis can really help.
Although arthritis is generally associated with ageing, it is possible to develop arthritis at any age. There are forms of arthritis that affect children. Whatever your age if you have concerns about your joints, you might want to consult with a specialist.
Symptoms of arthritis
Depending on the type of arthritis, there will be symptoms that affect not only the joints but the whole body. The joint symptoms typically present as pain, stiffness and swelling. The swelling may be accompanied by redness and warmth.
The pain of arthritis is a throbbing pain. It is not constant. The pain is generally worse in the mornings and after the joint in question has been inactive for a period of time. The stiffness follows the same pattern.
Arthritis can affect any of your joints. It is usually noticeable in your small joints first. This means you will likely notice symptoms in your hands and feet first.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis you will likely have some other, more general symptoms along with the joint pain. These symptoms include a lack of energy, poor appetite, weight loss, sweating and high temperature.
If you have these symptoms and think you may have arthritis you should seek medical advice.
What to do if you think you have arthritis
You can visit your GP for support if you think you have arthritis, and they may refer you to a specialist. Alternatively, you could just go straight to the specialist so that you can get help more quickly. If you live in London, why not make an appointment with Dr Stephanie Barrett? She is a consultant physician and rheumatologist and will be able to give you a diagnosis and treatment plan.