Painful, swollen joints that are stiff, red, warm and difficult to move are an early symptom of arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Some forms of arthritis have pain that is not linked to the joints, with symptoms that include fatigue, fever, weight loss and swollen glands, states WebMD.
There are different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, infectious arthritis and metabolic arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis is diagnosed by a doctor's evaluation of symptoms and a range-of-motion test.
Arthritis can be caused by wear and tear on the joints or an attack on the body's joints by the immune system, depending on the type of arthritis, according to Mayo Clinic. Arthritis can be genetic, but risk of developing the condition increases with age. Women and people who suffered a previous joint injury are also at increased risk of developing arthritis. Overweight people can develop arthritis because the excess weight can strain the joints.
Without treatment, arthritis can make it difficult to move. The joints can also become permanently damaged and deformed. Medications available to treat arthritis include analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and counter-irritants. Lifestyle changes can also help to relieve symptoms of the disease, according to Mayo Clinic.