Arthritis is inflammation of joints due to infectious, genetic, or degenerative causes. The term relates to more than 170 (one hundred seventy) different rheumatic diseases that affect joints, muscles, and connective tissue. Because of the numerous types of arthritis, symptoms can be unpredictable, but there are certain signs that point to the disease. For instance, persistent joint pain, or pain or tenderness in a joint that is aggravated by any movement or activity, such as walking, getting up from a chair, or turning a key are obvious signs of arthritis. In addition to the pain in a joint, inflammation can be indicated by swelling, stiffness, redness, and warmth, as well as loss of flexibility or joint deformity. If you suddenly lose weight, become easily fatigued, suffer from a non-specific fever, or hear a cracking noise in your joints during movement, these are other signs of arthritic behavior. If you develop any of these symptoms, you may want to seek the advice of your doctor. Self-treatment can sometimes take care of your problems, but your may want to obtain a definitive diagnosis from a physician before taking matters into your own hands.