Arthritis - Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

Arthritis - Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

58.5 million US adults have arthritis. Specialists acknowledge that the number will grow as our nation’s population gets older.

58.5 million US adults have arthritis. Specialists acknowledge that the number will grow as our nation’s population gets older.

Arthritis is a leading cause of work disability among US adults.

What is Arthritis?

"Arthritis" literally translates to "joint inflammation." It may also lead to inflammation of the tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint.

More than 100 rheumatic diseases that damage joints are known as arthritis. Pain, soreness, stiffness, and swelling are typical symptoms of these disorders.

Causes of Arthritis

There may be one or several causes leading to different forms of arthritis.

Potential reasons could be:

  • An illness with an irregular metabolism that can induce gout and calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease, or an injury that can cause degenerative arthritis (CPPD)
  • A genetic predisposition that may result in osteoarthritis
  • An infection like Lupus
  • An immune system dysfunction, such as the kind that causes RA and lupus.

Most kinds of arthritis are connected to a combination of causes.

The Signs of Arthritis

They may appear quickly or gradually. As arthritis is typically a chronic condition, symptoms may fluctuate over time.

The four primary warning signs are:

  • Pain: Arthritis pain can be continuous or intermittent. It might only impact one area or cause discomfort over the whole body.
  • Swelling: Arthritis causes red, swollen, and warm-to-the-touch skin above the damaged joint.
  • Stiffness: This symptom is a very common sign after you wake up in the morning or when you are sitting for a very long time period.
  • Joint difficulty: moving a joint or rising from a chair is difficult or painful.

Complications of Arthritis

  • The effects of arthritis on your daily life could worsen if untreated.
  • Decrease in mobility. You might move less comfortably as arthritis worsens. This may prevent you from engaging in your favourite activities and socialising because it may conflict with your everyday routine.
  • Possibility of weight gain.
  • Reduced movement and discomfort that prevents you from exercising are to blame for this.

Types of Arthritis

The most prevalent forms of arthritis are:

  • Gout
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis

Other types of arthritis include:

  • Spondylitis with ankylosing
  • Idiopathic juvenile arthritis
  • Arthritis psoriatic
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Bacterial arthritis
  • Arthritic thumb


It can harm practically any joint, it most frequently affects the hands, spine, hips, and knees.

Osteoarthritis was long thought to be a wear-and-tear condition caused by the deterioration of cartilage, the protective layer that covers the ends of bones, over time. Joints that are impacted by this experience weakened bones, deteriorating connective tissue, and joint lining damage from inflammation.

Contrary to popular perception for many years, inflammation is a major factor in both OA and the majority of other kinds of arthritis. Moreover, there is a growing agreement.

Additionally, there is growing agreement that one of the several subtypes of osteoarthritis is inflammatory OA.

Additional subtypes of OA include those linked to:

  • Post-traumatic wounds, like an ACL tear or a fracture
  • Occupational injuries from physically taxing jobs, such as farming and construction
  • lifestyle elements, such as being overweight, not exercising, and eating poorly
  • OsteoartiritisOsteoarthritisssary element of ageing, despite the fallen thought, tends to rise with age.

The following issues, however, can result from the inflammation and extra fluid in a joint in rheumatoid arthritis:

  • It may be uncomfortable and difficult to move the joint as a result.
  • The fluid's chemicals can harm the bone and joints.
  • The exjointsfluid may cause the joint capsule to expand.
  • A joint capsule can never fully retract after being extended to its original position.
  • Substances in the fluid have the potential to irritate nerve endings and cause pain.

Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis:

A limited range of motion that occasionally improves with movement, muscle weakness around the joint, instability or buckling of the joint, bony growths in the fingers, a scraping or grating sensation in the knees, and clicking or popping sounds with bending.

How to Manage?

  • By being physically active,
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding inflammatory foods like red meat
  • Better chances with intake of Olive oil, whole grains, wild salmon, berries, and leafy vegetables.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

A strong immune system offers defence. It causes inflammation to get rid of infections and mend wounds. In contrast, In inflammatory arthritis, the immune system targets healthy tissue like the joints in the hands, spine and foot. In some patients, inflammation spreads throughout the body, harming the heart, eyes, skin, and other organs. Several forms of inflammatory arthritis, but not all, are regarded as autoimmune illnesses because the immune system becomes unable to tell the difference between the self and the outside world and assaults the body it is designed to defend.

The most prevalent type of autoimmune inflammatory arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Less frequent and more difficult to diagnose are psoriatic arthritis (PsA), axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), gout, and juvenile arthritis. The exact cause of every case of inflammatory arthritis is unknown.

The microbiome, which refers to the billions of largely friendly microorganisms that reside in your gut, skin, and mouth, controls immune cells throughout the body and influences how the immune system responds to different diseases. These enormous microbial communities may no longer control the immune response normally if they become out of balance as a result of poor diet, antibiotic use, stress, or other factors. This is considered to be one of the main causes of RA and other inflammatory autoimmune diseases.

Early diagnosis and therapy are essential for people with autoimmune and inflammatory kinds of arthritis. In addition to reducing pain, enhancing function, and improving quality of life, slowing disease activity can help lumicans avoid chronic joint damage.

Gout (Metabolic Arthritis)

Gout, also known as metabolic or gouty arthritis, is brought on by an accumulation of painful uric acid crystals in the joints.They are by-products of the disintegration of purines, which are commonly present in a variety of meals including red meat, white meat, certain seafood, and alcohol.

The body usually eliminates excess uric acid, but if it doesn't, it can build up in joints and result in abrupt, excruciating pain, especially in the big toe. Yet, many gout sufferers have normal uric acid levels, and the majority of people with high uric acid levels never get gout.

Several studies suggest that uric acid may not be the only factor causing gout. Potential offenders include OA damage, modifications to the microbes, and even white blood cells. Some people only experience one gout attack or flare-up and never experience any other side effects.

They typically don't require medicine. Those who have multiple gout flare-ups or severe symptoms are frequently given uric acid-lowering drugs. In addition to taking medicine, patients are recommended to adopt a diet high in fruit, vegetables, healthy grains, olive oil, and low-purine fish that is primarily plant-based, low in purines, and free of harmful side effects.

Spondylitis with Ankylosing

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of spondyloarthritis that mostly affects the spine's joints, where it produces discomfort and swelling.

The body can produce extra calcium in this disease as a result of inflammation near the spine. The body often uses this mineral to strengthen bones. The increased calcium in ankylosing spondylitis, however, might cause new bone to form in the spine, which can result in pain.


If you're not sure who to see for an arthritis diagnosis, making an appointment with your primary care doctor is a smart place to start. They will do a physical examination to note the range of motion in the joints and look for fluid around the joints, heated, or red joints. If necessary, your doctor can recommend a specialist to you.

  • You can decide to initially make an appointment with a rheumatologist if you're displaying severe symptoms. This could result in a quicker diagnosis and course of action.
  • Your doctor can identify the type of arthritis you have by measuring your blood levels of inflammation, aspirating and examining any joint fluids, if any are present, and performing an analysis.
  • A frequent diagnostic test is a blood test that looks for particular types of antibodies, such as anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP), rheumatoid factor (RF), and antinuclear antibody (ANA).
  • In order to create an image of your bones and cartilage, doctors frequently employ imaging tests including X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. By doing so, they can rule out other potential reasons for your problems, like bone spurs.

Diagnosis is made with the help of:

  • Bone X-Ray
  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Test
  • Direct Arthrography
  • MRI of the Musculoskeletal System
  • Synovial Fluid Analysis

Living with Arthritis

You can manage arthritis in many different ways:

1. Diet-

  • A nutritious, balanced diet
  • Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, pulses, nuts, olive oil, fruit, and vegetables
  • More saturated fats
  • More omega-3 fatty acids,
  • Fewer high-energy foods, such as fatty and sugary ones.

People with arthritis may be more at risk of osteoporosis, so calcium from dairy products is crucial for maintaining strong bones.

2. Regular exercise-

One of the best strategies to treat arthritis is to engage in regular exercise. Many benefits of exercise include:

  • supporting balance
  • maintaining healthy muscles to support joints
  • lowering joint rigidity
  • lowering joint discomfort and tension
  • reducing tiredness and depression

keeping you active enhancing your mood and energy enhancing your sleep

3. Control your pain-

Muscle stress, joint injury, and inflammation are all potential sources of pain. When you're exhausted or under stress, it can be worse.

The following ways to manage your pain:

  • using pain medication.
  • by avoiding activities that aggravate your pain  exercising regularly to keep your joints moving
  • using hot  or cold treatments throughout the day
  • using therapies like massage, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) or mindfulness techniques and acupuncture.

Lowering your risk of developing arthritis

Certain factors that contribute to arthritis are beyond your control, such as becoming older, being a woman, or having a family history of the condition. However there are things you may take to lower your risk of developing arthritis or postpone its start.

Here are some tips for maintaining healthy joints as you age:

  • Try to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Weight-bearing joints like the hips and knees are put under stress by extra pounds.
  • Your knees experience an increase in stress of over four pounds with every pound you gain, while your hips experience a six-fold increase.
  • Take care of your blood sugar.
  • Your joints' supporting tissue can become stiffer and more stress-sensitive due to high blood sugar.

Exercise- Five times a week for just 30 minutes, exercise keeps joints flexible.

Treatment for Arthritis

The goals of arthritis treatment is to reduce pain, reduce joint deterioration, and maintain function and quality of life.

The course of treatment varies according to the type of arthritis .


The type of arthritis will determine the medication. Typical medications include:


Painkillers are analgesics. Acetaminophen and tramadol are two examples.


These medications work by reducing both pain and inflammation. NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and other medications. There are several NSAIDs available as creams, gels, or patches.


Menthol or capsaicin, the compound that are found in some creams and ointments. They regulate the pain signals from the joints. When applied over the affected area reduces discomfort.

Disease modifying antirheumatic medications (DMARDs):

These act by stopping the attack of the immune system on the joints. Hydroxychloroquine and methotrexate are examples of these.


These are medications that target different protein molecules involved in the immune response are known as biologics. Etanercept (Enbrel) and infliximab are two examples.


Prednisone and cortisone are corticosteroids that lessen inflammation and inhibit the immune system.


There are several supplements available if there isn't enough clinical research and safety information available for many herbs and supplements sold for arthritis. Unsaponifiables from avocado and soybeans, for instance, may lessen the symptoms of OA. Supplements containing fish oil and turmeric may help lower RA inflammation.


It is used to replace the affected joint with an artificial one. The most frequent uses for this kind of surgery are to replace hips and knees.

"Nobody can take away your pain, but don’t let pain take away your happiness!"