The information below is courtesy of Arthritis Australia. Visit the Arthritis Australia website for more information.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis’ is a name for a group of conditions affecting the joints. These conditions cause damage to the joints, usually resulting in pain and stiffness. Arthritis can affect many different parts of the joint and nearly every joint in the body.
Types of Arthritis
There are over 100 forms of arthritis. Each type of arthritis affects you and your joints in different ways. Some forms of arthritis can also involve other parts of the body such as the eyes. The most common forms of arthritis are:
For a detailed list of types of arthritis, visit the Arthritis Australia website.
Arthritis affects people in different ways, but the most common symptoms are:
- Stiffness or reduced movement of a joint
- Swelling in a joint
- Redness and warmth in a joint
- General symptoms, such as tiredness, weight loss or feeling unwell.
See your doctor as soon as possible if you have symptoms of arthritis. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and examine your joints. They may do some tests or x-rays, but these can be normal in the early stages of arthritis.
It may take several visits before your doctor can tell what type of arthritis you have. This is because some types of arthritis can be hard to diagnose in the early stages.
Your doctor may also send you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specialises in arthritis, for more tests.
There are many simple things you can do to live well with arthritis:
- Find out what type of arthritis is affecting you and learn about your treatment options
- Stay active: keep your joints moving and your muscles strong
- Learn ways to manage pain
- Manage tiredness: learn to balance rest and your normal activities
- Maintain a healthy weight: there is no diet that can cure arthritis, but a well-balanced diet is best for your general health