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  Inflammatory Arthritis  
 
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Conditions that suggest it | Contributing risk factors | Other conditions that may be present | Recommendations

 

"Arthritis" strictly means inflammation of the joints, but the word is used more generally for almost all joint problems. So the term inflammatory arthritis means those diseases of joints where the immune system is causing inflammation in the joint.

The most common types are rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis (associated with the skin condition psoriasis), reactive arthritis, viral or post-viral arthritis and spondylarthritis which affects the spine as well as joints. These different types of arthritis all have many features in common, so that it may be impossible to say exactly what type of arthritis it is. This is especially so at the onset of arthritis, as the early symptoms are common to all types. As a rule, any type of arthritis can affect any joint, but some patterns of affected joints are typical of particular types of arthritis.

The characteristic symptoms of inflammatory arthritis are pain and swelling of one or more joints, which can often be warmer than the other joints. Stiffness of the joints on getting up in the morning, or after sitting still for a time is very common and is sometimes the first symptom. These symptoms may begin after a minor illness such a sore throat or a cold, or may even be associated with a period of emotional stress such as a bereavement. Usually, however there is no identifiable cause.

If symptoms persist or get worse it is important to get medical advice soon. Arthritis is less likely to become severe or crippling if it is assessed and treated as soon as possible. The general assessment of arthritis includes a full physical examination (arthritis can affect other tissues such as skin and eyes), blood tests (to help measure the severity) and x-rays (to see if the joints are damaged). The blood tests may include a rheumatoid factor (RF) which is a protein present in the blood of some patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and an ESR, CRP or plasma viscosity, which can all give an indication of how active the arthritis is, and/or how effective the current treatment.
 

 
 

Conditions that suggest Inflammatory Arthritis:
 
 
Symptoms - Skeletal  Having inflammatory arthritis

Counter-indicators:
  Absence of inflammatory arthritis
 
 

Risk factors for Inflammatory Arthritis:
 
 
Circulation  Thrombocytosis

Symptoms - Skeletal

  History of inflammatory arthritis
 
 

Inflammatory Arthritis suggests the following may be present:
 
 
Circulation  Thrombocytosis

Inflammation

  Chronic Inflammation
 
 

Recommendations for Inflammatory Arthritis:
 
 
Drug  Antibiotics
 There are many stories of how long term use of an antibiotic such as minocycline has produced full recovery from inflammatory arthritis.
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
Likely to help







GLOSSARY

Arthritis:  Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes. It occurs in various forms, such as bacterial arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is characterized by a gradual loss of cartilage and often an overgrowth of bone at the joints.

CRP:  C-reactive protein. A sensitive measure of inflammation in the body.

ESR:  Erythrocyte Sedimentaion Rate is a screening test and not considered diagnostic for any particular disorder. It is useful in detecting and monitoring inflammatory conditions, tuberculosis, tissue necrosis (tissue death), connective tissue disease, or an otherwise unsuspected disease in which symptoms are vague or physical findings are minimal.

Gout:  A disease characterized by an increased blood uric acid level and sudden onset of episodes of acute arthritis.

Immune System:  A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.

Protein:  Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

Psoriasis:  An inherited skin disorder in which there are red patches with thick, dry silvery scales. It is caused by the body making too-many skin cells. Sores may be anywhere on the body but are more common on the arms, scalp, ears, and the pubic area. A swelling of small joints may go along with the skin disease.

Rheumatism:  General term applied to conditions of pain, or inability to articulate, various elements of the musculoskeletal system.

Rheumatoid Arthritis:  A long-term, destructive connective tissue disease that results from the body rejecting its own tissue cells (autoimmune reaction).

Spondylarthritis:  Intervertebral arthritis.