Arthritis affects around 10 million people in the UK, according to the charity Versus Arthritis. Don’t wait until symptoms become unbearable, notice these common signs to begin early treatment.
Charity Arthritis Foundation point out the four most common warning signs of the condition.
First, there will be a sensation of pain. This can come and go – whether resting or moving – or it may be persistent.
The pain can be found in one specific area of the body or it could occur in different parts.
There are various types of arthritis (which will be noted later), but a certain type of arthritis can cause swelling.
The skin over the affected joint can become red and swollen, feeling warm to the touch.
Swelling can last for a couple of days, which requires medical attention. This is also true if swelling occurs more than three times in a month.
Stiffness tends to be apparent when waking up first thing in the morning – especially if it lasts longer than an hour after rising.
It also reveals itself after sitting at a desk for a long time, or you may feel stiff after taking a long car journey.
4. Difficulty moving a joint
If you’re finding it difficult or painful to get up from a chair, it’s likely you have arthritis.
Types of arthritis
There are lots of different types of arthritis – far too many to delve into in one article.
The three most common types of arthritis are: osteoarthritis, gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
Versus Arthritis explained that osteoarthritis begins with the roughening of cartilage.
Cartilage is responsible for cushioning the ends of bones, however, once it begins to roughen, tiny bits of extra bones (osteophytes) can extend from bones in the joint.
Moreover, there can be an increase in the amount of thick fluid inside the joint.
And the joint capsule can stretch, resulting in the joint losing its shape.
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause painful swelling in the joints (spoken about earlier).
The most common joint affected is the big toe, but any joint suffering from gout can become red and hot.
The skin over the inflamed joint can look shiny and can peel. The condition is caused by too much urate (uric acid) in the body.
Although a small amount of urate is normal, excess urate can develop based on genetics, or what you eat or drink.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another type of inflammatory arthritis, when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s joints.
The autoimmune disorder collects extra blood and fluid to the affected joint(s) which can cause a number of problems.
For example, it can make moving the joints difficult and painful, as the fluid can irritate nerve endings.
Moreover, the extra fluid can stretch the joint capsule, dislodging the joint from its original position.