As you age, it’s not unusual to feel extra aches and pains on rainy days or when you first get out of bed. When should you be concerned those aches and pains might actually be more serious? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 52.5 million adults reported they had been diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis actually means joint inflammation, but it is used to describe more than 100 conditions that affect joints and the tissues that surround them. 

Because your risk for arthritis increases with age, it’s important to know the symptoms so you can begin managing the condition and the pain associated with it early. 

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Below are signs you should see your doctor. 

 1. You Cannot Determine the Cause of Your Pain 

If you are experiencing aches or pains the day after strenuous exercise, you may just be experiencing muscle stiffness. When you are able to determine the cause of your aches and pains, this typically is not a key trigger for arthritis. 

Rather, arthritis pain often progresses over time. You may be unable to determine when exactly you began feeling the pain, which could range from a dull ache to a burning, throbbing or grinding discomfort. If you find yourself unable to identify how the pain began, you should schedule a visit to speak with your doctor. 

2. You Notice Reduced Range of Motion 

If you find yourself taking longer to get out of bed at times, or are experiencing stiffness after sitting for a long period of time, this may be associated with normal aging. However, if you find yourself regularly unable to move a joint as much as usual, pain that affects the way you stand or walk or pain that prevents you from doing daily activities like work or exercise, you should schedule a visit to speak with your doctor. 

3. You Have Feelings of Frustration or Anxiety 

Arthritis is a chronic condition, and the people who live with it know this all too well. If the pain you are experiencing causes you to have anxiety or want to stay in bed as a way to cope, see your doctor. Treatment for arthritis so you can feel less pain is helpful, but your doctor can help you handle more than just the physical symptoms. 

Not being able to get around the way you used to can cause depression and hopelessness, but your doctor can help you cope emotionally. 

4. Your Gender, Weight and Family History 

While not a reason to see the doctor, it is noteworthy to know that most types of arthritis are more common in women, with 60 percent of all people diagnosed with arthritis being female. Gout is one type that is more common in men. Generally, people who are overweight or obese have a higher risk for arthritis symptoms. 

However, whether male or female, certain genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and akylosing spondylitis. If any form of arthritis runs in your family and you are experiencing any symptoms, you should speak with your doctor. 

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Above are just some of the indicators of arthritis. If you think you are experiencing any joint pain symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. There are many kinds of arthritis, so a proper diagnosis will guide your doctor in helping to treat your symptoms and provide relief as soon as possible. 

 For more information on the types of arthritis, the risk factors and the symptoms, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.