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Dr. Arthritis Must Read: What Does It Feel Like to Have Arthritis?

Dr. Arthritis Must Read: What Does It Feel Like to Have Arthritis?

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If you’re reading this, it’s likely because you have someone close to you who suffers from arthritis. And while it is indeed a common condition affecting 54 million people in the US alone, it is also one of the most underestimated and misunderstood conditions.

Dealing with chronic pain can affect physical as well as mental and social aspects of your lives. Arthritis affects a person’s ability to do even the most basic and simplest of tasks and that can take a toll on anyone’s quality of life–everything from personal hygiene and grooming to household chores, to recreational and leisure activities.

For normal, healthy people, it’s easy to take all these for granted. So to help you better understand what it’s like to live and manage a debilitating condition like arthritis, keep reading—

On what it’s like to deal with arthritis pain…

Arthritis can creep up slowly, affecting small joints first before it spreads to larger joints. The pain can range from mild to moderate to severe and it can feel like a minor sprain to a broken bone.

The stiffness of joints can be debilitating…

On top of the pain, arthritis can cause affected joints to stiffen. This makes it especially hard for arthritis sufferers to complete daily tasks like getting out of bed, walking, or doing household chores. This stiffness is usually worse in the morning and it can last for 45 minutes or more.

On top of joint pain, we also feel fatigue…

When the pain gets in the way of sleep, this can lead to arthritis sufferers experiencing fatigue. Nearly all of arthritis sufferers complain that they feel tired all the time. And this symptom can increase greatly if their arthritis is accompanied by conditions such as depression and obesity.

…Sometimes we have difficulty breathing…

Joint pain may be the most common symptom of arthritis, but keep in mind that it’s not the only one. Arthritis may affect other parts of your body like your lungs—which may seem unlikely, but it is, nevertheless, a reality. Long-term inflammation causes scarring on your lungs that leads to shortness of breath and dry cough.

…And a lot of the times, we get dry, itchy skin…

Another unlikely symptom is drying and itching of the skin. Rashes are common due to inflammation, and in addition to the pain, it can be uncomfortable. This is caused by the inflammation around the blood vessels.

Bear in mind that if you have a friend or loved-one suffering from arthritis, knowing how they feel and what symptoms they endure are great ways for you to begin understanding what it’s like to live with their condition.

For us at Dr. Arthritis, support from family and friends is key, as are choosing the right tools and aids to ensure that arthritis sufferers maintain their quality of life.

DR. ADAM GUNASEKARA MBBS BSc (Hons)

DR. ADAM GUNASEKARA MBBS BSc (Hons)

Medically reviewed by Dr Adam Gunasekara. He is the Co-Founder of Doctor Arthritis. He graduated from The Imperial College London with an MBBS (MD) - The article was written by the Dr. Arthritis Editorial Team.

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