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May is Arthritis Awareness Month
Though early symptoms are the first indication of an arthritic condition, there is much more information which needs to be gathered. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related rheumatic conditions. For a patient to obtain a specific diagnosis (i.e. what type of arthritis do I have?), a doctor must evaluate the patient's:
A basic knowledge of the common types of arthritis and symptoms also will better prepare you for doctor appointments. You will find it easier to formulate questions and communicate with your doctor once you are confident that you understand basic facts about arthritis symptoms.
Here are a few of the leading forms of Arthritis and how they may present.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory type of arthritis. The joints are primarily affected, but there can be systemic effects (i.e. organs) as well. Morning stiffness lasting more than an hour, involvement of the small bones of the hands and feet, extreme fatigue, rheumatoid nodules, and symmetrical joint involvement (i.e. both knees not one knee) are all characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis predominantly affects the joints, unlike other types of arthritis which may have systemic effects. The most common symptom associated with osteoarthritis is pain in the affected joint after repeated use. Joint pain is often worse later in the day. The affected joints can swell, feel warm, and become stiff after prolonged inactivity. Osteoarthritis can occur with other forms of arthritis simultaneously. Bone spurs and bony enlargements are also characteristic of osteoarthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis associated with psoriasis (a skin condition characterized by red, patchy, raised or scaly areas) and chronic joint symptoms. The symptoms of psoriasis and joint inflammation often develop separately. Symptoms associated with psoriatic arthritis vary in how they occur (i.e. symmetrical or asymmetrical) and what joints are affected. Any joint in the body can be affected. When psoriasis causes pitting and thickened or discolored fingernails, the joints nearest the fingertips are likely to become arthritic.
Ankylosing spondylitis is commonly associated with inflammation which starts at the lower spine or sacroiliac joints. The earliest symptoms are often chronic pain and stiffness in the lower back region and hips. Typical Ankylosing Spondylitis pain in the back worsens following rest or inactivity. As symptoms of pain and stiffness progress up the spine to the neck, possibly including the rib cage area, bones may fuse.
Lupus can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, nervous system and other organs of the body. It is not uncommon for symptoms associated with lupus to resemble symptoms associated with other types of arthritis and rheumatic disease, making lupus difficult to diagnose. A butterfly-shaped rash appearing on the cheeks and over the bridge of the nose (malar rash) is just one of the distinguishing characteristics of lupus.
Gout is considered one of the most intensely painful types of arthritis. Gout is characterized by sudden onset of severe pain, tenderness, warmth, redness, and swelling from inflammation of the affected joint. Gout usually affects a single joint and most often the big toe is affected. The knee, ankle, foot, hand, wrist, and elbow may also be affected. Shoulders, hips, and spine may eventually be affected by gout, but rarely. Often the first gout attack occurs at night.
Information on these forms as well as the other forms of arthritis can be obtained at the Arthritis Foundation’s website: www.arthritis.org
At Adams Drugs service is our trademark. Locally owned and operated since 1962, we work hard everyday to make sure that our patients understand the use of their medicine to lead better and healthier lives. Unlike most drugstores, you won't find cigarettes or beer for sale. What you will find are a friendly, knowledgeable staff that have time to talk to you about your prescriptions and over-the-counter items.
We have eight convenient locations. Five in Montgomery, which include: Adams Drugs Central on Adams Avenue, Adams Drugs East on Mitchell Drive, Adams Drugs South on McGehee Road, Adams Drugs on Taylor Road, and Adams Drugs on Vaughn Road. We are also located in Prattville, Wetumpka, and in Millbrook and we offer city-wide delivery.
Visit one of our convenient locations for the prompt, friendly service Montgomery has counted on for more than 50 years.