The Arthritis Symptom: An Overview

By: Riley Hendersen

Are your aches and pains just a natural part of growing older, or are they a sign there is something more serious wrong with your body? While some forms of arthritis are just the result of the aging process, some forms can wreak havoc on more than just the joints. Other forms actually result from the body's immune system turning on itself. How can you tell if your joint pain is natural aging or if something else is wrong? Knowing the symptoms of different forms of arthritis can help you know if a pain reliever is all you need, or if your specific arthritis symptom is a sign there is more wrong than just joint pain.

The most common form of arthritis is known as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the form of arthritis generally associated with growing older. This condition results from the natural aging process in which the cartilage, a rubbery substance that protects the joints, begins to wear down. The arthritis symptom most often associated with this form of the disease is joint pain. This joint pain can also be accompanied by fever and swelling in the affected joints as well as stiffness in the morning or after times of inactivity.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of arthritis that can strike the young and old alike. Like osteoarthritis, the main arthritis symptom associated with rheumatoid arthritis is joint pain. Unlike osteoarthritis, however, rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the body's immune system turns on the body and begins to attack the joints. Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis can also expect to experience joint fever and stiffness. In the long term, rheumatoid arthritis can cause deformity of the joints. The disease can also cause nodules, or raised lumps, to appear in places such as the hands. In addition to these symptoms, however, those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis can also have extreme fatigue, lack of appetite, and low grade fever throughout the body. Unlike those suffering from osteoarthritis, those who have rheumatoid arthritis can experience times of remission where they are basically symptom free.

Another form of arthritis characterized by the main arthritis symptom of joint pain is psoriatic arthritis. Other symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include raised, red, scaly areas of the skin. Unlike either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis can also affect major organ of the body such as the heart and lungs. Untreated, heart damage resulting from psoriatic arthritis can result in heart failure and ultimately, death. In this disease, arthritis strikes the cartridge and tendons as well as the joints of the body. The psoriasis associated with the disease generally precedes the arthritis symptoms by several months to several years.

As you can see, the main arthritis symptom associated with most forms of this debilitating condition is joint pain and stiffness. With varying forms of the disease, symptoms can range from fever, loss of appetite, psoriasis and fatigue. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor can decide what treatment options are best for you to keep your disease from becoming debilitating or life-threatening.

Rheumatology
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Rheumatology