Inflammatory Arthritis

Written by James Lyons
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What causes the inflammation associated with arthritis? In a number of cases, the smooth covering that covers the ends of bones, articular cartilage, eventually wears away causing the bones to rub against one another, which gives rise (no pun intended) to inflammation. This is what happens with osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis in the world. The symptoms are swelling in the joint areas, stiffness, soreness, chronic pain, and/or acute pain.

The inflammatory arthritides like rheumatoid arthritis are a collection of systemic diseases that cause the inflammation of the joint lining. Pain in the joint areas is the most common sign of arthritis. However, there are some other signs your body can give you if it's suffering from arthritis. A dull pain in the groin or buttocks area could mean you have an arthritic hip. Inflammation followed by a fever is also a common sign of arthritis.

Going to the Doctor?

When you go to a doctor, she will probably have you perform a few tests to see if you indeed have arthritis. The initial tests are physical--the doctor will ask you to move the affected area (hand, knee, hip, wrist, foot, elbow, shoulder) in different directions to see what movements trigger the greatest amount of pain. This isn't the most enjoyable test in the world, but it helps them narrow things down.

After the preliminary physical tests, the doctor will probably want to perform some X-rays and laboratory tests. The X-rays will reveal if there's excess fluid in the joint area, thinning of the bones or loss of space between bones. The laboratory tests will show if any antibodies have entered the blood stream to fight infection or inflammation.

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