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ACHY JOINTS MAY BE A WARNING OF MANY TREATABLE DISEASES

Many people are resigned to the fact that aching joints are a part of life.

But they do not have to accept joint pain. Most types of arthritis are treatable, and some pains may be signs of serious illness.

More than 30 diseases can cause joint pain. Hepatitis, Lyme disease, diabetes, hemophilia, an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, breast cancer and prostate cancer are just a few examples.

Joint pain is a very general symptom and can be caused by many things, just the way chest pain has a variety of causes, from a heart attack to pneumonia to simple indigestion.

Joint pain that gets suddenly worse or is accompanied by general sickness, a fever, chills, night sweats, chest pain or abdominal pain are warning signs that a person should visit a doctor. The presence of warm, red or swollen joints should also prompt immediate medical attention.

If an underlying illness like Lyme disease is causing the pain, the arthritis may disappear after antibiotics kills the Lyme bacteria. Treating the underlying disease can frequently cure joint pain.

The great majority of patients with joint pain are not suffering from any dread diseases, but just have osteoarthritis caused by a wearing down of the cartilage between joints. Even if not curable, this and other forms of arthritis can be treated. People don't need to suffer from fingers too stiff to write or knees that hurt when climbing into a car.

Anyone who has painful joints should visit a physician for a checkup. It may soothe both their joints and their minds.

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