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Arthritis symptoms: Toenail changes and other less obvious warning signs of arthritis
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In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other, similar conditions that affect the joints. The two most common types of arthritis in the UK are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Joint pain and stiffness are the hallmark symptoms of arthritis but there are a host of less obvious symptoms too.
According to the Arthritis Foundation (AF), certain types of arthritis can have symptoms not directly related to your joints.
As the AF explains, changes to finger and toenails are a less obvious warning sign.
Other possible symptoms include:
Scaly, itchy skin
Hair loss in spots or around the hairline.
“Before visiting the doctor, keep track of your symptoms for a few weeks, noting what is swollen and stiff, when, for how long and what helps ease the symptoms,” advises the AF.
The health body adds: “Getting an accurate diagnosis is the next step so you can begin a treatment plan that will protect your mobility and quality of life.”
Can arthritis be cured?
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for arthritis but there are things you can do to alleviate symptoms.
Exercise may seem counterintuitive if you have arthritis but it can greatly improve symptoms.
As the NHS explains, being active can help reduce and prevent pain.
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Regular exercise can also:
Improve your range of movement and joint mobility
Increase muscle strength
Boost your energy.
What are the best types of exercise if you have arthritis?
Range-of-motion exercises are particularly beneficial if you have arthritis.
The Mayo Clinic explains: “These exercises relieve stiffness and increase your ability to move your joints through their full range of motion.”
According to the health body, these exercises might include movements such as raising your arms over your head or rolling your shoulders forward and backward.
“In most cases, these exercises can be done daily,” it adds.
Other exercises include:
It’s also very important to eat a healthy, balanced diet if you have arthritis.
Eating healthily will give you all the nutrients you need and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Why is it important to maintain a healthy weight if you have arthritis?
According to the NHS, if you’re overweight, losing weight can really help you cope with arthritis
“Too much weight places excess pressure on the joints in your hips, knees, ankles and feet, leading to increased pain and mobility problems,” warns the health body.
According to UK health guidelines, a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a healthy weight.
BMI is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height.