Common Arthritis Symptoms

Arthritis symptoms are easy to spot. Arthritis is a condition characterized by stiffness, swelling, and pain in the joints. It is more common in older people than in young people, but can occur at any age.

Arthritis is usually classified into two categories: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition where the white blood cells in your body begin to collect in the membranes encasing your joints. These white blood cells cause the membranes to become inflamed. Eventually those membranes thicken, causing you to have swelling, pain and discomfort in your joints. If the membranes thicken enough, you may lose use of some of those joints. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include swelling of the joints, loss of joint flexibility, painful joints and deformation of the joints.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. This type of arthritis occurs from the eventual wearing out of the joint in question. No one knows why some people's joints wear out sooner than others, but the result is osteoarthritis, which is painful and uncomfortable because the bone begins to grind against bone. Sometimes this kind of arthritis is caused by an infection, which leads to the deterioration of the joint cartilage, or an injury, but it is usually just the effect of wear and tear on the joint.

Arthritis can manifest itself in joints, such as the knees, elbows, fingers and ankles or in the vertebrae of the spine. As arthritis persists, it can cause you to lose mobility in some joints.

Sometimes other medical conditions masquerade as arthritis. Lupus sometimes manifests itself as painful, swollen joints. Psoriasis, which is a skin condition, can also cause inflammation of the joints as well. Even the flu can cause joint pain, as can overuse of a particular joint through intense exercise or repetitive use during manual labor. To determine if your condition is actually arthritis, you will need to see your doctor for a test. Your doctor may perform blood tests to determine if you actually have rheumatoid arthritis or if you have a different underlying medical condition.

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