Get the basics on arthritis diagnosis and treatment options from the experts at WebMD. Someone who's been searching for answers for a while may see to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating arthritis and rheumatic. Early diagnosis and treatment can save more than joints. Some types of arthritis can cause internal damage to the heart and other organs from the start. Prompt.
Diagnosed How is Arthritis
Experts use different definitions to gather information about arthritis in the population. Learn more on the Arthritis Case Definitions page. The most common form of arthritis in the United States is osteoarthritis.
Fibromyalgia is included in arthritis for public health purposes. Different types of arthritis have different symptoms. Pain and stiffness in and around one or more joints are common symptoms for most types of arthritis. Depending on the type of arthritis, symptoms can develop suddenly or gradually over time. Symptoms may come and go, or persist over time.
However, we do know that gout is caused by too much uric acid in the body. Sometimes specific infections can also cause arthritis. Scientists are studying the role of factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and environment in different types of arthritis to learn more possible causes and risk factors. For information about known arthritis risk factors, visit the Risk Factors page. Certain factors make it more likely that you will develop arthritis. You can control some risk factors, and others you cannot.
By changing the risk factors you can control, you can decrease your risk of getting arthritis or making arthritis worse. If you have a form of inflammatory arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, you may be more likely to develop complications from the flu than most people. People with inflammatory arthritis are more vulnerable to flu-related complications because they have weakened immune systems. These forms of arthritis and some of the medications used to treat them can both weaken the immune system.
Yes, children can get arthritis. The most common type of arthritis found in children is juvenile idiopathic arthritis JIA , also known as childhood arthritis or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Childhood arthritis causes permanent damage to the affected joint or joints.
Early diagnosis and proper treatment are important to prevent or minimize permanent damage. There is no cure for childhood arthritis, but some children with childhood arthritis achieve permanent remission, which means the disease is no longer active. You can reduce your risk of getting some types of arthritis by changing risk factors you can control. Risk factors you can control include overweight and obesity, joint injuries, and smoking.
Talk to your doctor if you have arthritis symptoms such as pain, stiffness, or swelling in or around one or more of your joints. It is possible to have more than one form of arthritis at the same time. There are many forms of arthritis, and diagnosing the specific type you have can help your doctor determine the best treatment.
The earlier you understand your arthritis, the earlier you can start managing your disease, reducing pain, and making healthy lifestyle changes. According to the American College of Rheumatology, arthritis treatment can include medications, nondrug therapies such as physical therapy or patient education, and sometimes surgery. Self-management is what you do day-to-day to manage your condition and stay healthy. For instance, a kitchen knife equipped with a saw handle helps protect your finger and wrist joints.
Certain tools, such as buttonhooks, can make it easier to get dressed. Catalogs and medical supply stores are good places to look for ideas. If medications fail to prevent or slow joint damage, you and your doctor may consider surgery to repair damaged joints. Surgery may help restore your ability to use your joint. It can also reduce pain and correct deformities. Surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection and pain.
Discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor. Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease. You can take steps to care for your body if you have rheumatoid arthritis. These self-care measures, when used along with your rheumatoid arthritis medications, can help you manage your signs and symptoms:.
Some common complementary and alternative treatments that have shown promise for rheumatoid arthritis include:. The pain and disability associated with rheumatoid arthritis can affect a person's work and family life. Depression and anxiety are common, as are feelings of helplessness and low self-esteem.
The degree to which rheumatoid arthritis affects your daily activities depends in part on how well you cope with the disease.
Talk to your doctor or nurse about strategies for coping. With time you'll learn what strategies work best for you. In the meantime, try to:. While you might first discuss your symptoms with your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a rheumatologist — a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions — for further evaluation.
Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Diagnosis Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages because the early signs and symptoms mimic those of many other diseases.
Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic. American College of Rheumatology. Goldman L, et al. Ferri's Clinical Advisor American Occupational Therapy Association.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Matteson EL, et al. Overview of the systemic and nonarticular manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis. Gabriel SE, et al. Epidemiology of, risk factors for, and possible causes of rheumatoid arthritis. Schur PH, et al. General principles of management of rheumatoid arthritis in adults. Weisman MH, et al. Total joint replacement for severe rheumatoid arthritis.
Getting an Arthritis Diagnosis
Diagnosis. Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages because the early signs and symptoms mimic those of many other. There are more than different types of arthritis, each with dive into the general symptoms of arthritis, what causes it, how it's diagnosed. It is very important to get the right diagnosis. There are over different types of arthritis. Symptoms and treatment will vary depending on which type you have.