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Do I have Arthritis?

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The space between 2 bones is called a joint. There are more than 200 joints in our bodies. There are different ways that a joint helps our body move: a shoulder is a ball and socket joint and can rotate, an elbow is a hinge joint and can bend and open, while pivot joints help us turn our head.

Each joint is enclosed by a membrane called synovium which produces a small amount of oily fluid which lubricates our joints. The ends of bones are covered by a thick cushion called cartilage. Some joints are surrounded by cushions called bursae, ligaments which act as ropes to keep the joint in place, muscles which help move the joint and tendons which are the ends of muscles which attach to the bone. These structures which surround the joint, such as bursae, ligaments, tendons and muscles are called soft tissues.

It is very important to have joint pains treated early as this can prevent joint damage. The Rheumatologist takes a full history and do a thorough examination to determine the cause of your pains. Often people say that they do not have rheumatoid arthritis because their blood test did not show it or they are wrongly diagnosed with this condition on the basis of a false test. Only 70% of people with rheumatoid arthritis have a positive blood test. Sometimes the test is positive in the absence of arthritis. This is why it is so important to have the diagnosis made by a qualified expert.

ARTHRITIS is a general term which is used to refer to anything which affects a joint. There are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis. The most common type, osteoarthritis, usually affects people over the age of 60. This is a wear and tear or degenerative disease. The cartilage between your bones wears off very much like the brake pads in your car. However, many types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can affect even babies. These forms of arthritis which affect young people can be very destructive, causing deformities and disabilities at a young age. These kinds are usually due to inflammation where there is swelling within the joints which can eat into the bone and cartilage.

When treated early and in the right manner it is almost impossible this will happen

Is there a cure?

Just like high blood pressure or diabetes many forms of arthritis are chronic diseases. There is no cure but with the right treatments the symptoms are controlled and damage prevented. Some forms of arthritis require joint replacement surgery.

Do I have to take medications all my life?

This is variable. Some forms of arthritis may require lifelong treatment.


Once the specialist has asked you questions he or she will examine you. Depending on the kind of arthritis you have they may need to look at all the joints and press on them, and move them. Sometimes the doctor will count how many painful or swollen joints you have and you may have to answer some questions which relate to your functional ability and quality of life. Occasionally it is necessary to make measurements of your spine. This will then help the doctor decide on your treatment.

Xrays: are done to look at the bone and joint and look for joint space narrowing or damage.

Sometimes xrays are not sufficient and the doctor may need a closer look with a scan such as an MRI or CT scan. Ultrasound testing for joints is also a new modality to help with diagnosis.

Blood tests: such as rheumatoid factor or CCP(for rheumatoid arthritis), ESR and CRP (for inflammation), uric acid (for gout), ANA (for lupus), and HLAB27 (for Ankylosing Spondylitis) are needed. However, the diagnosis cannot be made on the basis of a blood test alone. The history, examination, xrays and blood tests have to be all taken together.

There could be one or more different kinds of Specialists involved in your care. Sometimes a whole team may be required.

Rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in arthritis and bone and joint diseases. He/ she gives medications to control inflammation and pain and monitors the patient closely.

Orthopedic Doctor is someone a patient may see to have major or minor operations or surgeries on their bones and joints. Examples of such surgeries are joint replacements of hips, knees, shoulders; disc or back surgeries; tendon repairs or arthroscopies.

Physiotherapist is someone who relieves pain by several techniques and also guides the patient in the proper exercises which one can and cannot do.

Occupational therapist is a specialist who helps a patient adapt their surroundings to fit their disabilities and limitations

About Arthritis Center

This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.



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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.


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