Arthritis is a term often used to mean any disorder that affects joints. The major complaint by individuals who have arthritis is joint pain. Pain is often a constant and may be localized to the joint affected. The pain from arthritis is due to inflammation that occurs around the joint, damage to the joint from disease, daily wear and tear of joint, muscle strains caused by forceful movements against stiff, painful joints, and fatigue.
Decreased mobility, in combination with the above symptoms, can make it difficult for an individual to remain physically active, contributing to an increased risk of obesity, high cholesterol or vulnerability to heart disease. People with arthritis are also at increased risk of depression, which may be a response to numerous factors, including fear of worsening symptoms.
There are over 100 different forms of arthritis such as:
The most common form, osteoarthritis (Pic. 1) presents the degenerative joint disease resulting from trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Osteoarthritis is characterized by a lack of primary inflammation (increased blood circulation around the infected area). Osteoarthritis usually occurs with age and affects the fingers, knees, and hips. Other forms of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases. Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection.
Rheumatoid arthritis (Pic. 2) is a chronic and progressive disease in which the immune system attacks the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis often affects the hands and feet. It is characterised by pain, inflammation and swelling of the joints, stiffness, weakness, loss of mobility, and deformity. Tissues throughout the body can be affected including the skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, and muscles.
Gout (Pic. 3) is a form of inflammatory arthritis characterized by recurrent attacks of a red, tender, hot, and swollen joint. Pain typically comes on rapidly in less than twelve hours. The joint at the base of the big toe is affected in about half of cases. It may also result in tophi, kidney stones, or urate nephropathy (rapidly worsening kidney function).
Infectious arthritis is another severe form of arthritis. It presents with sudden onset of chills, fever and joint pain. The condition is caused by bacteria elsewhere in the body. Infectious arthritis must be rapidly diagnosed and treated promptly to prevent irreversible joint damage.
Patches of abnormal skin (also called psoriasis) can develop into psoriatic arthritis. With psoriatic arthritis, most individuals develop the skin problem first and then the arthritis. The typical features are of continuous joint pains, stiffness and swelling. The disease does recur with periods of remission but there is no cure for the disorder. A small percentage develops a severe painful and destructive form of arthritis which destroys the small joints in the hands and can lead to permanent disability and loss of hand function.
A detailed history and focused physical examination, in combination with imaging modalities, can help localize the origin of symptoms and help direct treatment.
Treatment options vary depending on the type of arthritis and include physical therapy, lifestyle changes (including exercise and weight control), orthopedic bracing, and medications. Joint replacement surgery may be required in eroding forms of arthritis. Medications can help reduce inflammation in the joint which decreases pain. Moreover, by decreasing inflammation, the joint damage may be slowed.
Turner syndrome (TS), one of the most common sex chromosome disorders, is caused by numeric or structural abnormalities of the X chromosome. Numerous autoimmune diseases in Turner syndrome patients have been reported, such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (children arthritis with an onset before age 16) that is characterized by a striking female predominance superimposed on a predisposing genetic background such as X-chromosome linked.