Arthritis is ‘wear and tear’ of one or more joints in the human body, leading to pain and swelling. It is a fairly common and a potentially debilitating condition that can lead to higher morbidity rates in patients. There are red flags of arthritis that you shouldn’t ignore and seek timely diagnosis and intervention.
Is there joint pain and/or swelling, stiffness, and persistent fatigue? Do you find it difficult to negotiate stairs? Are you unable to carry on with your daily activities with ease? Then, it is time to consult the doctor as these symptoms may indicate that you have arthritis. Let us brief you about the various signs and symptoms and urge you to seek timely treatment.
Watch out for these signs…
Pain: If you have constant body pain while resting or moving then this could be arthritis. Pain may be present in one part of the body or in many different parts.
Swelling: The affected joint may appear red and swollen. If the swelling lasts for a longer time, then it should be a matter of concern.
Stiffness: This is a classic symptom of arthritis that shouldn’t be ignored. If there is stiffness when you wake up in the morning or while doing other activities like working in the office, doing household chores, or even driving then one can suspect arthritis.
Inability to move the joint: Is it tough for you to get up from the chair, sit down properly or even lift any object? This can be arthritis.
Joint pain: If there is sudden joint pain and it tends to worsen with physical activity then it can be arthritis.
There are several types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, which is the most common type, there is a wearing away of the cartilage in your joints with age. We can compare it to a cataract in the eye – age-related degeneration. When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, the membrane lubricating joints get inflamed. It is an auto-immune phenomenon – the body fights itself with joints being affected in particular.
Persistent fatigue: If you are unable to do your daily chores due to constant tiredness or unable to do any task even after a good night’s sleep then this too could be a sign of arthritis.
You need to be vigilant of the signs that your body gives you. Intervention at the right time is the key and can prevent problems later in life.
(The author is an Orthopaedic Knee Surgeon, ACI Cumballa Hill Hospital)
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