A survey of more than 4,000 people,in the U.K.,carried out by the voluntary organization Arthritis Care showed that they
often had severe pain,which was left untreated,faced descrimination and social exclusion,were unable to obtain useful,reliable
information about the safest and most appropriate treatments and found getting or keeping jobs difficult. And yet a staggering
72 % of people with arthritis meet the legal definition of disability as set out in the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995.
This means six million people have the legal redress under the act.
"It is extraordinary that the single biggest cause of disability has been marginalized" said Neil Betteridge,Head of
public policy for Arthritis Care. "However,these findings paint a bleak picture,we at Arthritis Care,will be using them for
campaining purposes across the U.K.
Results of a U.S. survey conducted by the Arthritis Foundation prove many Americans don't realize they already may be
showing signs of arthritis,and far more do not realize the implications or risk of getting arthritis.
"Many people wait to see a doctor because they think they are too young to have arthritis,yet millions of Americans,especially
baby boomers will reach retirement and not be able to live the way they had hoped".,said Dr. John Klippel director of Arthritis
Foundation. The survey showed ;* 67 % were found to be at risk for arthritis. * 52 % were not aware they were at risk for
developing arthritis. * More than half (53 %) were already exibiting symptoms of some form of arthritis.
Arthritis means inflammation in the joint. Inflammation is painful and is a very common medical problem. Arthritis is
not the same as arthralgia,aches,or pains many people feel upon awakening or after over-exertion of a muscle when exercising,
or at work. If aches and pains are like a summer breeze,arthritis is like a storm,and rheumatoid arthritis is like a hurricane.
Some inflammatory diseases that are lumped under the heading "arthritis" do not significantly affect the joints,and inflammation
is not a primary symptom of osteoarthritis,the most common type of arthritis.
There are over 100 different types of musculoskeletal conditions that can have a significant impact on a patient's physical
and pschological functioning. Musculoskeletal conditions affect of 40 million people in the United States. These can be
anything from relatively mild forms of tendonitis and bursitis to crippling forms of rheumatoid arthritis (over 2 million).
There are pain syndromes like fibromyalgia and arthritis-related disorders,such as systemic lupus erythematosus,that
can involve every part of the body,depending upon individual case,and type of lupus. There are other forms of the disease
such as gout,that most people do not associate with arthritis,and there are other conditions-like osteoarthritis-that a good
many people think,is the only form of the disease (type1 and 2). There are autoimmune system affected arthritis and non-autoimmune
involvement disease types.
The common denominator for all these conditions is joint and musculosketal pain,which is why they are grouped together
as "arthritis". Furthermore arthritis can be classified as either inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Inflammatory arthritis
features inflammatory white blood cells in the joint fluid. Forms of inflammatory arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis,lupus
arthritis,gout and many others.
Forms of non-inflammatory arthritis include osteoarthritis,arthritis of thyroid disease,arthritis after injury and many
others. Inflammation is involved in many forms of arthritis. It is the body's natural response to injury.
There are more than 100 joints connecting the body's 206 bones. Most of the major bone connections in the body are joints
designed to allow a broad range of motion. There are different kinds for different functions. Different types of arthritis
are caused by problems in different parts of the joints. Just as the car can break down for many reasons. Damage to the bone
leads to abnormal wear,destruction of cartilage,and inflammation. Damage to the cartilage leads to osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid
arthritis results from inflammation of the synovial membrane,or joint lining.
Complicating the picture is the interaction of tendons ligaments, tissue,muscles etc.,of the body which can adversely
affect a certain arthritic condition more, than another,and in some cases not be involved at all.
No one knows what causes arthritis,though scientists have uncovered a host of clues. Something can be done to manage
most forms of arthritis,but its very important that a correct diagnosis is established early. Most therapies work best when
started early in the disease process.
At this time,the only type of arthritis that can be cured is that caused by infections. Although symptoms of other types
of arthritis can be effectively managed with rest,exercise,and medications,there are no cures. Some people claim to have been
cured by treatment with herbs,oils,chemicls,special diets, radiation,or other products. There are a small minority.who are
allergic to certain foods which can be helped by elimination of certain foods in the diet.
However,there is no scientific evidence that such treatments are helpful in patients with arthritis,and,moreover,they
may actually cause harm with the developments of side effects. Patients should talk to their doctor before using any therapy
that has not been prescribed or recommended by the health care team caring for the patient. Nearly everyone has a theory on
the cause and treatment of"arthritis".
RA,for example,is a serious,autoimmune and debilitating disease that affects the whole body. However,many patients
with RA gets lost in a maze of "treatment options" that are scientifically unfounded.. While climbing the treatment pyramid, valuable
opportunity to control the disease without causing irrepairable damage is lost.Symptoms of RA differ considerably from those
of other types of arthritis, such as gout and OA.
Gout tends to cause intermittent joint inflammation with a sudden onset,and episodes that last a few days. OA,on the
other hand,tends to cause chronic use-related pain. In addition,OA is associated with minimal or no inflammation and involves
fewer joints than does RA. Morning stiffness,a typical feature of RA, is uncommon in OA.
Studies show that an estimated 18 percent of Americans who have arthritis or other rheumatic conditions believe that
their condition limit their activities. People with arthritis may find that they no longer can participate in some of their
favorite activities,which can affect their overall well-being. Even when arthritis impairs one joint,a person may have to
change many daily activities to protect that joint from further damage and reduce pain.
When arthritis affects the whole body,as in RA or fibromyalgia,many daily activities have to be changed to deal with
pain,fatigue,and other symptoms. Some of the medications used in treating diseases such as RA complicate the problem
further by the side effects caused by the medications,itself. The amount or strength of the doseage and type is a common contributing
Changes in the home may help a person with chronic arthritis continue to live safely,productively,and with less pain.
People with arthritis may become weak,lose their balance,or fall in the bathroom. Installing grab bars in the tub or shower
and by the toilet,placing a secure seat in the tub,and raising the height of the toilet seat can help.
Special kitchen utensils can accomadate arthritic hands to make meal preparations easier. An occupational therapist can
help people with rheumatic conditions identify and make adjustments in their homes to create a safer,less painful,and more
Friends and family can help a patient with rheumatic conditions by learning about that condition and understanding how
it affects the patient's life. Friends and family can provide additional emotional and physical assistance.Their support,as
well as support from other people who have the same disease,can make it easier to cope. Quality,and accurate,education on
all aspects of a particular disease is essential for successful control and therapy.
The most formidable hurdle to management of arthritis is cost. Insurance and government health plans are,of necessity,wary
of unlimited authorization of the newer medications However,as it becomes ever more clear that they can stop joint destruction
more effectively than any other available medications,it also becomes more clear that they are cost-effective--the follow
-up expenses for a patient with improved function and no pain are significantly less.
Furthermore,it is expected that with new technologies,production costs of these and other agents under investigation,will
be hopefully reduced.
Arthritis symptoms and signs vary according to type and severity of condition. A symptom is an
abnormal experience, such as pain or stiffness, that a person may describe to someone else (including their doctor).
pain (a symptom) is often not caused by arthritis, but instead may be related to tendinitis, bursitis or degenerative joint
disease (without actual arthritis, or joint inflammation).
A sign is an abnormality a person may observe or detect
in another; an example is the finding of joint swelling a doctor may see when examining a joint.
Pain; sensation of swelling and stiffness in or near a joint, especially in the morning
* Limited joint function and increased
pain with movement
* Fatigue, a feeling of weakness, a loss of appetite (only in some "systemic" forms of arthritis)
* Joint redness
* Joint warmth
* Joint deformity
* Loss of joint motion
Some forty million Americans suffer from some type of arthritis,yet it remains a poorly understood disease. The term
arthritis comes from the Greek words arthro ( joint ) and itis ( inflammation ). But some inflammatory diseases that are lumped
under the heading "arthritis" do not significantly affect the joints,and inflammation is not a PRIMARY SYMPTOM of osteoarthritis,the
most common type of arthritis.
Some arthritic diseases are also referred to as rheumatism,from the archiac Greek word rheuma,meaning -to flow. this
is because most arthritic diseases (osteo-excepted) feature periodic inflammations and fluid buildup in and around joints
or organs Arthritic disease fall into one of two distinct categories of disorders,each charachterized by a differnt set of
effects,symptoms and causes.
To muddy the water further,although osteoarthritis patients,generally do not have inflammatory arthritis,and is classified,
non-inflammatory,there is a group-minority of patients who do have "erosive-inflammatory arthritis" signs .Only,it is not
systemic. It is more mono.
Patients often say "I have RA,or Lupus",but it is the severity,and other factors which distinguishes the
differences. Some patients in RA or Lupus will have a short course,while others will suffer for the rest of their lives.One
may have osteoarthritis with occasional pain,or some seniors will have it with no apparent symptoms,while some will have serious,delibelating
disease such as in the hips,which may force termination of a career. We all have pain in arthritis,but there are many
different factors involved. A diagnosis of a certain disease is just a part of the total equation..
"Connective tissue disease "is another word used indiscrimanently,just like "arthritis'. --When one really analyzes the
When you consider the advances in medicine in recent years,public education is light years behind.
Rheumatism refers to painful musculoskeletal conditions which arise from the soft tissues such as the muscles, ligaments,
bursas and tendons rather than the bones or joints. Rheumatism may hurt as much as arthritis but it does not cause crippling
There may or may not be tender points when pressure is applied to certain areas of the soft tissues. The diagnosis is
made by a thorough history and physical examination. A few simple tests might be done to rule out other disorders such as
a low functioning thyroid gland or polymyalgia rheumatica.
The symptoms wax and wane chronically but the condition can sometimes disappear completely. The cause is not known. Symptoms
can worsen with weather, poor physical conditioning, sedentary lifestyle, overexertion, muscle tension, emotional distress
and depression. It can be associated with poor sleep, fatigue, headaches, vague numbness and tingling, temporomandibular joint
syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome.
Symptoms can be helped by various exercise programs, relaxation techniques, heat, massage, acupuncture, good sleep, relief
of emotional distress and depression, reduced caffeine, mild analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, certain antidepressants
and muscle relaxants.
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