Knowing if you have arthritis can be problematic. There are tons of different symptoms and more than a hundred different types of arthritis and related conditions. The sad thing, however, is that many older individuals tend to resign to their fate that joint pain and arthritis is all part and parcel of growing old. Younger people on the other hand simply dismiss the pain that they feel, attributing it to a simple sports injury that will recover with time. The thing about arthritis is that it can happen to anyone of any age and early diagnosis and treatment can really ease the pain and protect your joints. Ultimately, only a doctor can confirm if you have arthritis but it is always good to know the symptoms so you can protect your joints. Here are some steps you can take to evaluate your own health and see if you should be concerned about having arthritis.
The first step to checking if you have arthritis is to have a physical examination of the suspected joint. Joints that are functioning properly should have a complete range of motion without any pain, swelling or stiffness. If an area is chronically swollen, perhaps when you are engaged in a more intense activity and has a feeling of general warmth and tenderness, then perhaps it would be wise to consult your doctor. A good test to see if a joint is swollen is to compare it with the symmetrical joint on your other half of the body.
The next step would be to evaluate the symptoms and the history of it. Has the pain and stiffness been a chronic event that occurs only when you partake in a certain activity? How long does the pain last and what activity aggravates it? It is crucial to understand how the pain comes and goes as it will help narrow down the type of arthritis you may have if any.
Secondly, review your travel history and any past or even recent illness you may have had. Autoimmune diseases may play a part in causing the pain you feel in your joints and these include shingles and salmonella. Even after recovering from such diseases, there is still a chance that the pain would be felt at the particular joint.
Finally, your lifestyle habits may play a part in your bone health, even if it may not seem significant at this time. If you do not have a healthy weight, lead a sedentary lifestyle and smoke, then all of these would negatively affect your bone health. On top of that, a family history of people who have a form of arthritis could also put you at a higher risk of getting arthritis at some point in your life.
Diagnosing arthritis can be a challenging task, even for doctors. Having a clear understanding of your physical well-being as well as medical history can give you a clearer picture of whether or not you should escalate your condition to a medical practitioner. It is still advisable to lead a healthy lifestyle and take care of your bone health in general so as to reduce the risk of arthritis occurring.