Of the more than 100 types of arthritis, the most common type is osteoarthritis – which is the tenderness and swelling of one or more joints in the body. Because it is so common, it is usually called simply “arthritis.” Arthritis joint pain and stiffness tend to get worse as we get older, but it can also affect younger people who are athletes due to the overuse of the joints.
An arthritic condition affects approximately 54.4 million Americans, per the latest statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Whereas osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage at the ends of bones wear down and cause painful friction in a joint, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the protective and lubricative lining of the body’s joints – and RA can also spread to other organs.
Both of these main types of arthritis affect the joints in similar ways. Let’s take a look at some of the early symptoms that people with arthritis report experiencing.
Common First Symptoms of Arthritis
Some of the most frequent early-warning signs of osteoarthritis are the following joint problems:
- Reduced range of motion
The symptom may start in any joint, and the inflammation can then work its way through to other joints in the body. Physical activity can help to loosen joints and relieve the associated pain and stiffness.
Although the exact cause of arthritis is unknown, there are possible ties to genetics, lifestyle, diet, and environmental factors. The state with the lowest incidence of arthritis (17%) is Hawaii, and the state with the highest (33%) is West Virginia, so researchers are studying to find out why the prevalence of arthritis is so different between different types of people.
Early Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The first symptoms of RA usually start with stiffness in the hands, and it typically comes on slowly. Because it is an autoimmune disease, RA can affect organs in the body beyond the joints.
Although it usually develops gradually, rheumatoid arthritis can attack quickly – over the course of just a couple of days – and it can affect multiple sites of the body. Some of the first signs of RA include:
- Hand stiffness
- Low-grade fever for no reason
- Numbness and tingling in the joints
- Cracking or popping sound in the joints
- Decreased range of motion
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty sleeping
- Cyst-like bumps under the skin on the arms
If RA is left untreated, it will cause deformity and other problems in the affected joints. That is why it is so important not to ignore this condition and shrug it off as “normal aging.”
Orthopedic Physicians in Farmington Hills
If you or someone you know has any of the symptoms listed above that may indicate arthritis, contact the professionals at Tri-County Orthopedics. A skilled orthopedist can prescribe a course of treatment in an effort to keep the symptoms and disease from progressing any further.
Contact us today by calling (248) 474-5575 or request an appointment online now, and rest assured you will be getting the best orthopedic care in the Detroit area.