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Signs and symptoms
Arthritis should be considered whenever there is pain and a limited ability to move any joint, unless there has been a physical injury to the joint. Deciding if a child has arthritis is best left to the doctor.

Home care
No home treatment is safe until after a doctor’s diagnosis has been made. Trying to treat the condition at home may only delay proper treatment. Also, home treatment may make diagnosis more difficult for the doctor. If your doctor is not immediately available, pain relievers containing aspirin or paracetamol will temporarily reduce the discomfort. Rest or immobilize the affected joints.

Infectious arthritis is an acute emergency, and delay of treatment for 24 hours may result in permanent damage to a joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatic fever require prompt treatment to minimize damage but are not considered emergencies.
Rheumatoid arthritis can begin with only a prolonged unexplained fever, and no outward signs of arthritis (redness, tenderness and swelling).

Medical treatment
For the evaluation of arthritis, several tests are required. These tests may include X rays; a wide variety of blood tests; blood culture; drawing fluid out of the joint for testing; electrocardiogram; and a stool culture. Treatment may include antibiotics, drainage of the joints, large doses of aspirin (aspirin substitutes do not have the same effect), or oral steroids. If large doses of aspirin are prescribed and taken over a period of time, aspirin blood levels should be tested regularly.
If the condition is diagnosed as allergic arthritis, the doctor may suggest using oral antihistamines to relieve the symptoms. If it is diagnosed as arthritis from rubella, no treatment is necessary.

We are all potential arthritics. Not a very encouraging start and not a particularly nice thought. But putting things into perspective brings a note of encouragement in that, for many of us, it will only be the gradual and natural ageing process causing stiffness in some of our joints. In most cases, fortunately, it is simply natural wear and tear of the joints coupled, perhaps, with ageing of muscles and tendons which restricts movements to a slower and more gentle pace. Some may even live to a ripe old age without any truly arthritic symptoms.
This is what happens to the fortunate ones. But what about those who are afflicted with painful and crippling arthritis, sometimes at a very early age It may be as well to start by taking a general and not too technical look at the various forms of arthritis and rheumatism.
Arthritis belongs to one of the oldest known groups of afflictions. It is, of course, not restricted to man alone. Possibly the earliest recorded example of multiple arthritis, in a vertebrate animal, was discovered in the fossil skeleton of the platycarpus. This prehistoric and very large reptile lived about one hundred million years ago. In the human and sub-human species arthritis has been recorded as present in Egyptian mummies and Ape Men. Its presence has thus plagued mankind since he first inhabited the earth.

Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis could be described in rather general terms as a poly-arthritis of unknown cause. It is accompanied by a general malaise, weakness, painful swelling and stiffness in joints. There is a greater incidence of this form of arthritis in women than in men and it also occurs at any age. In children rheumatoid arthritis is known usually as Stills Disease. It is quite distressing to see young children, even babies, suffering from arthritis at such an age. Naturally it is difficult to treat them with drugs which could result in serious side effects by the time they are teenagers. At the same time the distress of the parents seeing their child suffer pain and restriction of movement if no treatment is given can be imagined. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition which is subject to remission and recurrence. It is not uncommon for a rheumatoid arthritic to have months or even years free from symptoms, after having suffered badly, with no obvious reasons for the change in condition. This should perhaps be a source of hope for those unfortunate people who cannot be helped by regular drug therapy or the treatment.
Another feature of rheumatoid arthritis is that the] appearance of the hands, in particular, may be distorted by subcutaneous nodules. Other areas of the body may be affected in a similar way. Many of us will have at least one relative or friend who displays the characteristic lumpy fingers or wrists. Sometimes the fingers are not only lumpy but are also bent into a claw shape or, possibly, sideways. It is j possible for some of these distorting characteristics to’ disappear again. This has in fact happened with some people taking the mussel extract capsules, though of course there is no guarantee that it will.

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