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Arthritis (from Greek arthro-, joint + -itis, inflammation; plural: arthritides) is a group of conditions involving damage to the joints of the body.

There are over 100 different forms of arthritis. The most common form, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Other arthritis forms are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and autoimmune diseases in which the body attacks itself. Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection. Gouty arthritis is caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in the joint, causing inflammation. There is also an uncommon form of gout caused by the formation of rhomboid crystals of calcium pyrophosphate. This gout is known as pseudogout.

History and physical examination

All arthritides feature pain. Pain patterns may differ depending on the arthritides and the location. Rheumatoid arthritis is generally worse in the morning and associated with stiffness; in the early stages, patients often have no symptoms after a morning shower. In the aged and children, pain might not be the main presenting feature; the aged patient simply moves less, the infantile patient refuses to use the affected limb.

Elements of the history of the disorder guide diagnosis. Important features are speed and time of onset, pattern of joint involvement, symmetry of symptoms, early morning stiffness, tenderness, gelling or locking with inactivity, aggravating and relieving factors, and other systemic symptoms. Physical examination may confirm the diagnosis, or may indicate systemic disease. Radiographs are often used to follow progression or assess severity in a more quantitative manner.

Extra-articular features of joint disease
Cutaneous nodules
Cutaneous vasculitis lesions
Lymphadenopathy
Oedema
Ocular inflammation
Urethritis
Tenosynovitis (tendon sheath effusions)
Bursitis (swollen bursa)
Diarrhea
Orogenital ulceration


Blood tests and X-rays of the affected joints often are performed to make the diagnosis. Screening blood tests are indicated if certain arthritides are suspected. These might include: rheumatoid factor, antinuclear factor (ANF), extractable nuclear antigen, and specific antibodies.

Types of arthritis

Primary forms of arthritis:

Secondary to other diseases:

Diseases that can mimic arthritis include:

Treatment

Treatment options vary depending on the type of arthritis and include physical therapy, lifestyle changes (including exercise and weight control), orthopedic bracing, medications, and dietary supplements (symptomatic or targeted at the disease process causing the arthritis). Arthroplasty (joint replacement surgery) may be required in eroding forms of arthritis.

In general, studies have shown that physical exercise of the affected joint can have noticeable improvement in terms of long-term pain relief. Furthermore, exercise of the arthritic joint is encouraged to maintain the health of the particular joint and the overall body of the person.

History

While evidence of primary ankle (kaki) osteoarthritis has been discovered in dinosaurs, the first known traces of human arthritis date back as far as 4500 BC. In early reports, arthritis was frequently referred to as the most common ailment of prehistoric peoples. It was noted in skeletal remains of Native Americans found in Tennesseemarker and parts of what is now Olathe, Kansasmarker. Evidence of arthritis has been found throughout history, from Ötzi, a mummy (circa 3000 BC) found along the border of modern Italymarker and Austriamarker, to the Egyptian mummies circa 2590 BC .

In 1715 William Musgrave published the second edition of his most important medical work De arthritide symptomatica which concerned arthritis and its effects.

See also



References

  1. WebMd Arthritis Basics
  2. Swash, M, Glynn, M.(eds). 2007. Hutchison's Clinical Methods. Edinburgh. Saunders Elsevier.
  3. Alick Cameron, ‘Musgrave, William (1655–1721)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004


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