Arthritis is a debilitating disease that encompasses over two hundred different forms, all of which have lasting effects on the musculoskeletal system. Many people become confused as to what they should recognize as a symptom, and when they should seek medical attention. Arthritis is especially difficult to recognize in its early stages. Some of the signs and symptoms that you are experiencing may be attributed to something else. The following are a few suggestions in determining if you should take a trip to your doctor’s office.
- Do you have persistent pain in one, or more, joints? This is usually in the knees, elbows, hips, or hands.
- Do any of your joints appear swollen, or have redness on, or around, them?
- Are any of your joints tender to the touch?
- During normal activity, does the pain become worse? This may happen while walking or standing up from a seated position.
- Are you losing any sleep at night due to discomfort?
- Do you avoid any of your normal daily tasks?
- Has the pain, or any of the symptoms, been present for more than two week
Arthritis is a chronic condition that you want to have evaluated as soon as possible. If you are experiencing any of the most common signs listed, or anything that is out of the ordinary, you should seek medical attention. Don’t be worried that it seems trivial to you. Arthritis gets worse over time and you don’t want to wait until your signs are completely obvious. Your doctor should speak to you about your concerns and he should order an X-Ray and/or blood test. Your doctor may also want to refer you to a rheumatologist, whom specializes in musculoskeletal conditions. An X-Ray will show if there has been any joint space narrowing, and a blood test can help your doctor determine what kind of arthritis you may have. It is important to know the exact form of arthritis you have, so it can be treated appropriately. Treatments for arthritis are not unilateral, and a course of action needs to be determined. Don’t wait until it’s too late!