Pain, stiffness and swelling in your joints may be signs of arthritis. This inflammation may cause serious damage to your joints over time.
Women are 60% more likely to suffer from arthritis than men, and the risk increases with age.1 Other risk factors include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Having a history of joint injuries or serious infections
- Working in a job that requires repetitive motions
- A family history of arthritis
The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
What you can do to treat arthritis
Arthritis cannot be cured, but early detection and treatment can help improve your quality of life. You can delay the most damaging effects if you:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Follow a moderate daily exercise plan
- Avoid activities that could lead to injury
- Protect joints from repetitive overuse
Treatment choices also vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. Most options focus on controlling pain and minimizing joint damage. Treatment may include:
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Braces, splints and other joint protection aids
- Alternative care, such as acupuncture
How to talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor if you're at risk for developing arthritis to determine if there are steps you can take to manage it. Make sure to tell your doctor of any persistent or frequent pain and stiffness in your joints.
Different types of arthritis come with different symptoms. Your doctor may use a combination of methods to determine if your joint inflammation is a form of arthritis. Diagnosis includes review of your medical history and may involve a physical exam, X-rays, blood work or other lab tests.