Whether your joints hurt on one or both sides of your body gives your doctor helpful information when it comes to diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis.
Doctors often determine whether you have rheumatoid arthritis or a different type of joint problem by identifying the pattern of joints that are affected. One aspect of this pattern is symmetry. That means that if you drew a line down the center of your body, in some conditions your joint pain would be symmetric, or affect both sides equally in the same place. For example, if your left elbow hurt, your right elbow would hurt, too. If the joint involvement is asymmetric, however, your left elbow would hurt, but your right elbow would not.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Symmetric Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a classic example of a symmetric arthritis, says Terry Moore, MD, a physician at Saint Louis University Hospital who specializes in rheumatology. In fact, that’s long been part of the criteria that the American Rheumatism Association uses for diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis. Those criteria include having swelling in joints in several areas, such as hands, feet, wrists, elbows, and knees. The same joints on both sides of the body need to be involved.
The issue of whether joint pain is symmetric or not is generally only of interest when your doctor is trying to figure out what type of arthritis you have, Dr. Moore says. But it may also play a role in physical therapy, if that’s part of your treatment. If you think you might have rheumatoid arthritis, be ready to tell your doctor where you feel pain, how long you’ve had it, and what it feels like (sharp or a dull ache). Knowing more about other types of arthritis, including whether they’re likely to affect joints on both sides of the body, can help give you a sense of whether you may have rheumatoid arthritis.
Other Types of Arthritis
There are more than 100 types of arthritis; here are some of the more common ones:
Osteoarthritis.The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is generally asymmetric. This arthritis is the result of “wear and tear,” Moore says. Protective cartilage that covers the ends of bones where they meet in a joint wears away. The exposed bones can rub together and cause pain. Because you don’t usually bear your weight equally on both sides, you may have one knee or ankle involved, for example.
Ankylosing Spondylitis.This type of arthritis mostly affects the spine, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the shoulders, hands, and feet. It usually involves joints in an asymmetric pattern, too, Moore says.
Psoriasis Arthritis.Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis — which affects the skin — will also get psoriatic arthritis. It usually affects joints asymmetrically but may sometimes strike in a symmetric fashion and resemble rheumatoid arthritis.
Gout.This very painful type of arthritis occurs when uric acid crystals gather in joints. It usually first strikes the big toe, causing it to become sore, red, and swollen, but it can affect other joints, too. The pain usually develops quickly in one joint, such as a toe, ankle, or knee joint.
An acidic body and inflammation may be the cause of your Arthritis.
You may also be Genetically predisposed. To have your DNA LifeMap done to find out what your predispositions are to go to www.mygenewize.com/lifestyles GeneWize will Customize your wholefood Nutritional Supplements for You based on your Genes!