Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints. It can be followed by stiffness that worsens with age. Arthritis can affect a single joint or multiple joints. There are different types of arthritis. The ailment can appear due to wear and tear, some infection, or another underlying disease. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the commonest forms of arthritis. An arthritis test can throw light on the extent of damage that has happened at your joints and an appropriate therapy and treatment can be recommended. For example, a rheumatoid factor test can help your doctor diagnose the type of arthritis that you have and treatment can be started to minimize pain and stop the problem from exacerbating. Although, there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatments and regular exercises that can stop further damage and ease the pain. It makes it all the more important to get your arthritis test done as early as possible.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. It is one of the leading causes of disability in the world. People of all ages can get arthritis. Common symptoms of arthritis include swelling in the joints, pain, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion. The symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe. Sometimes they come and go according to the weather, something the person has eaten or not eaten, or the presence or lack of movement. The symptoms may remain the same for years, and then progress suddenly. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain. The condition can worsen to such an extent that it becomes difficult for the patient to move around, climb stairs, get up, or even walk.
Arthritis can also cause permanent joint changes. Some of these changes are visible, such as knobby finger joints or swollen knees. But most of the changes can only be seen through an x-ray. Some forms of arthritis can even affect the heart, the eyes, the lungs, kidneys, and the skin.
Arthritis is mostly caused due to wear and tear of the bones at the joints. In normal, healthier conditions, there is cartilage that prevents the bones from forcibly rubbing against each other during movement. They also carry lubricants that help the joint bones rub against each other without harm. This way they provide a flexible connectivity at the joints and allow them to bear the pressure of weight, stretching and movement. Sometimes the quality of these cartilages begins to deteriorate. They can no longer provide cushioning to the bones.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means the body begins to attack itself. It begins to consider the cartilages of the joints harmful and prevents the nutrients from reaching there. Without sufficient nourishment, the cartilages begin to weaken and eventually break. With no protection between the bones, the bones rub against each other, causing injury and inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis is known to affect older people between the ages of 40 and 60, but it can affect at any age.
There is a difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Whereas osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear, rheumatoid arthritis is caused because the immune system begins to attack synovium, the lubricants that nourish the cartilage and keeps the bones from rubbing against each other with force. A timely arthritis test can tell you what type of arthritis you are suffering from, and the treatment can be started accordingly. Tests like rheumatoid arthritis factor test (both qualitative and quantitative) enable you to know if you are suffering from an autoimmune disease. To get the diagnosis confirmed, you can also get a CRP test or an ESR test done.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to get an arthritis test as early as possible?
The damage caused by arthritis is irreversible. You may not feel extreme discomfort unless your joints have been damaged considerably. You may go on with your life bearing the slight pain that appears in your joints considering it to be a nuisance and not doing anything about it. While you are not attending to the arthritis problem, it is constantly deteriorating. As mentioned above, the harm being done by arthritis cannot be undone. A timely arthritis test can confirm that you are suffering from arthritis and you can stop the problem from worsening by taking appropriate medication and changing your lifestyle.
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?
Symptoms of osteoarthritis: Extreme pain in the joints during or after movement. Stiffness in the joints upon awakening or after being inactive. Tenderness around the affected areas when you apply a light pressure. Loss of flexibility in the joints, restraining full range of motion. Grating sensation like popping and crackling. Extra lumps of bone. Swelling in the joints due to soft tissue inflammation. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis Tender, warm and swollen joints. Morning stiffness. Prolonged fatigue. Easy onset of fever. Lack of appetite.
What is the process of getting an arthritis test done?
There are multiple arthritis tests that you can get done to cover all the bases. For example, rheumatoid arthritis test requires you to book an appointment for a phlebotomist to visit you to collect your blood sample. Once he has collected your blood sample, he will submit it to the lab and you will get your results in a couple of days. Then you can start your treatment accordingly.
What is the use of getting an arthritis test done if the condition is irreversible?
The condition is irreversible, but also progressively degenerative. If left untreated, it will get worse. Eventually, you won’t be able to move around. You may need to use a mobility device within a few years and the pain can become unbearable. You may have to resort to frequent painkillers and these painkillers can render your kidneys damaged. Hence, to avoid such a condition, it is important to get your arthritis test done as soon as possible so that, although you cannot reverse the deterioration, you can definitely stop it from getting worse.
Can arthritis be avoided?
There is no sure shot way of avoiding arthritis. Your family history, ageing, and even your gender (some types of arthritis are more common among women) are out of your control. But you can definitely mitigate the discomfort caused by different types of arthritis. You can eat nutritional food that gives the essential ingredients to your different body parts, including joints. You can keep yourself hydrated. You can indulge in mild exercises regularly. You can control your weight because this will reduce wear and tear at the joints.