Jul 12, 2021
You Might Already Have Arthritis – Here’s How to Know
Did you know that over 54 million adults have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis? This prevalent joint condition is the leading cause of work disability. It also costs more than $303 billion in lost earnings and medical care every year. If you have a family history of arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, you’re more likely to develop arthritis at some point.
You may be dreading the day you start to show arthritis symptoms, but the truth is you may already have it! Here are some of the early signs of arthritis, and how to know when it’s time to visit your doctor.
Early Signs of Arthritis
Most people who develop osteoarthritis start to get symptoms after age 65. However, there are some types of arthritis that can affect people as young as 15 years old! If you’re questioning whether you already have arthritis, here are some early signs to look for:
- Warmth in one or more joints
- Pain and swelling in the joints
- Joint stiffness/loss of range of motion
- Redness and tenderness in the joints
- Tingling and numbness in the joints
If you have early-onset arthritis, you may feel unusual tiredness or fatigue associated with normal daily activities. You may discover that this fatigue seems to come and go over time. You may also find that your joints feel stiff and have limited mobility in the morning when you first get out of bed.
If your joint stiffness lasts a few hours after getting up, you may be experiencing one of the early warning signs of rheumatoid arthritis (which is an inflammatory type of arthritis). If the stiffness only lasts a few minutes, it may be an indication that you are developing osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative form of arthritis.
How To Recognize Arthritis Pain
Early symptoms of arthritis may seem completely unrelated to the joints. They include difficulty sleeping, weight loss, general weakness, and loss of appetite. Some people also report experiencing eye discharge, dry mouth, chest pain and dry eyes during early-onset arthritis. If you experience these symptoms along with general joint pain, redness, swelling and stiffness, you likely have arthritis already.
When to See a Doctor
Early arthritis symptoms can be mild, but it’s important to take them seriously as they can become more severe over time. Before you visit a doctor, though, get a notebook and keep track of your symptoms for at least three weeks so your doctor can provide the most accurate diagnosis.
If at any time you develop a fever along with your other early arthritis symptoms, seek medical care immediately. A fever could be an indication of a serious infection.
There are a variety of treatment options for arthritis. The type your doctor recommends depends on the type of arthritis you have, how severe it is, and your treatment preferences. The primary goals of treatment should be to control the disease, improve joint mobility, and provide as much pain relief as possible.
Your doctor may recommend occupational therapy, medications to help reduce inflammation and pain (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), corticosteroid joint injections, or other types of medication designed to suppress the overactive immune system and improve joint function.
In rare or severe cases, surgery may be recommended to remove damaged connective tissue that lines the cavity of the affected joint. Surgical replacement of the joint may also be the answer if the pain and inflammation become so severe that it negatively impacts your daily quality of life.
If your arthritis symptoms are not yet severe and you want to naturally treat them, consider taking supplements with natural anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving ingredients. Options include supplements that include turmeric with black pepper extract, omega-3 fatty acids, and moringa.