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What Is Arthritis?

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are examples of inflammatory arthritis.

Examples of organisms that can infect joints are salmonella and shigella, chlamydia and gonorrhea and hepatitis C. In many cases, timely treatment with antibiotics may clear the joint infection, but sometimes the arthritis becomes chronic. Arthritis diagnosis often begins with a primary care physician, who performs a physical exam and may do blood tests and imaging scans to help determine the type of arthritis.

An arthritis specialist, or rheumatologist, should be involved if the diagnosis is uncertain or if the arthritis may be inflammatory.