Arthritis affects many adults, regardless of age or ethnicity. It is important to seek out a diagnosis of arthritis in the hands to rule out other joint problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus, or carpal tunnel syndrome. When treated, people who have arthritis can live healthy and normal lives.
The initial symptoms of arthritis in hands are stiff and painful joints, usually accompanied by slight swelling and warmth in the affected areas.
A primary care physician will check hands for obvious symptoms of arthritis and may decide whether to use a blood test to determine how severe the arthritis is. Typical blood tests include the ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), which indicates the degree of inflammation in the body and CRP (C-reactive protein), which indicates the amount of inflammation present.
Those who suffer from arthritis may have reduced mobility in the joints in the hand. Typically they experience stiffness, which improves after they take anti-inflammatory drugs or after gently stretching the joints.
The most common treatment for arthritis is anti-inflammatory drugs. These are usually in the form of over the counter medications, such as Aleve.
Arthritis is often confused with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a degenerative disease that slowly destroys the joints.