Unfortunately, arthritis can arise in many forms and can affect everyone – including children and adolescents. While the most commonly known form, Osteoarthritis, is a degenerative disease that progresses as we age, many forms of inflammatory arthritis can affect people at any age.
The most common form of inflammatory arthritis is Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA. There are other forms of inflammatory arthrities, such as Psoriatic arthritis, or PSA, Ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis with Chron’s disease, Polimyalgya Rheumatica, Gout, Psuedogout, Lupus or SLE and others. Please be assured that we are experts in treating all of them. But RA is a prototypic form of joint inflammation and although every type of arthritis has it’s own feat hers, treatment approach is quite close, so we will discuss mostly RA. Should you want more info about this, it could be found onACR website.
RA is a systemic, inflammatory disease which may cause joint destruction very early in it’s course and therefore may cause disability. This form of arthritis usually involves many small and large joints but can start with pain, swelling and stiffness in one joint.Do you have any combination of this: pain, swelling or stifness in your wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle and small hand and finger joints as well as joints of toes and foot or feet? Does it take you some time to loosen up in the morning or after sitting in a car? If your answer is yes, you most likely have Rheumatoid Arthritis or other type of inflammatory arthritis.
RA is caused by a abnormally functioning immune system attacking your own joints, resulting in joint inflammation. That’s why it is called autoimmune disease. RA often results in pain and stiffness after periods of rest or inactivity, particularly in the morning. The swelling, redness, and warmth may be present in the affected joints, but other areas in the body can be affected by the inflammation as well, such as the eyes, lungs and bone marrow, to name a few. Fatigue is usually quite prominent, too.The usual course of this disease is slow progression, and that is why some people think this is result of the aging process and not the arthritis and tend to ignore their symptoms. This type of thinking risks disability, and I am sure this is something you do not want for yourself. Contemplate the picture of your health in a couple of years: do you see yourself striving just to hold a glass of water, not mentioning holding the cooking pan? Do you see yourself using cane or walker or even wheelchair to get around? Do you see yourself depending on others? Unfortunately, this is what I have seen happening should the disease be left untreated. And of course, I have seen a lot of treated patients who are able to live normal life and participate in activities they want to.
If you have joint pain and/or arthritis, it is very important to know what kind of arthritis do you have. It takes a lot of training and experience for a physician to arrive at the correct diagnosis. On its earlier stages the Rheumatoid Arthritis is quite often insidious with normal X-rays and even lab results which make it difficult to distinguish it from Osteoarthritis or Other disease causing pain.