Diagnosing and Identifying Arthritis
There are over 100 different types of arthritis and it is very important to determine what type of arthritis an individual has. Depending on what type of Arthritis is present, the treatment may vary, so it is essential that the specific type of arthritis is properly diagnosed.
Often, doctors break down arthritis into three categories, which are put forth by the American College of Rheumatology. The three categories, Monoarthritis, Polyarthritis, and Oligoarthritis, are described below.
In Monoarthritis, the arthritis is only found to affect a single joint. In Polyarthritis, the Arthritis is found to effect many joints. Oligoarthritis is the middle ground, in which the arthritis effects more than one joint, but not more than 6 joints.
Analyzing the symptoms that the patient is experiencing can also be a valuable tool when diagnosing arthritis.
For example, if an individual experiences stiffness and pain in their joints after resting for an extended period of time, they have an inflammatory type of arthritis.
If, on the other hand, the pain or stiffness is brought about by physical activities, especially weight bearing ones, the individual would have a non-inflammatory type of arthritis.
The location and number of joints affected can also offer a clue to what type of arthritis is present. For example, non-inflammatory arthritis is usually non-symmetrical, in that it will effect a single knee. Those that have an inflammatory type of arthritis would experience symmetrical arthritis in which both of their knees were effected.
There are a number of other clues that can provide a more accurate diagnosis, including:
- Chest Pain
- Sleeping Problems
- Weakness of the Muscles
- Hair Loss
- Skin Problems
By analyzing what symptoms are present, a doctor is typically able to accurately identify what type of arthritis is present, which is essential for providing treatment.