| Wednesday, March 22, 2006
| ARTHRITIS FOR DUMMIES
|Defining "TRUE" Arthritis
True Arthritis is not a medical term; it's just a convenient way of referring to the group of ailments in which arthritis is the primary disease process and is a major part of the syndrome. Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis are the best known members of this group, whcih can cause problems ranging from mild joint pain to a permanently bowed spine.
The following include conditions in which arthritis is the major part of the syndrome and the primary disease process:
* Ankylosing Spondylitis: A chronic inflammation of the spine, this disease can cause the vertebrae to grow together, amking the spine rigid. Although the cause is unknown, heredity is a factor.
* Gout: This "regal" form of arthritis is caused by the build-up of a substance called uric acid, which forms sharps crystals that are deposited to the joint. These needlelike crystals cause inflammation leading to severe pain and are most commonly found in the knees, the writs, and the "bunion" joint of the big toe. Genetic factors, diet, or certain drugs may cause Gout.
* Infectious Arthritis: Bacteria, viruses, or fungi that enter the body can sttle in the joints, causing fever, inflammation, and loss of joint functions.
* Juvenile Arthritis: This is a catchall term for the different kinds of arthritis that strike children under the age of 16, the most common of which is Juvenile Rheumatoid Atrhitis (JRA) Pain or swelling in the shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles or toes; chills; a reappearing fever, and sometimes a body rash are the typical symptoms of JRA. The cause is unknown.
* Osteoatrhitis (OA): In this, the most common type of arthritis, the cartilage breaks down, exposing bone ends and allowing them to rub together. The result can be pain, stillness, loss of movement, and sometimes swelling. Osteoarthritis is most often found in the weight bearing joints, such as the hips, knees, ankles, and spine, but it can also affect the fingers. It may be the result of trauma, metabolic conditions, obesity, heredity or other factors.
* Psudogout: Like gout, pseudogout is caused by the depotition of crystals into the joint, but instead of uric acid crystals, they're made from calcium. Pain, swelling and sometimes the destruction of cartilage can result.
Note: This deposition of cal;cium crustals is not related to the dietary intake of calcium.
* Psoriatic Arthritis: This form of arthristis occurs in people who have the inherited skin condition called Psoriasis, which causes scaly, red, rough patches on the neck, elbows, and knees, as well as pitting of the nails. Often settling in the joints of the fingers and toes, psoriatic arthritis can cause the digits to swell up like little sausages.
* Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): In this, the second most common form of arthritis, the immune system turns against the body, causing inflammation and swelling that begins in the joint lining and spreads to the cartilage and the bone. It often affects the same joint on both sides of the body (for example, both wrists)
CONSIDERING THE CAUSES OF ARTHRITIS:
Just as many different kinds of arthritis exist, many different causes also exist - and some of them are still unknown. But in general, scientist have found that certain factors can contribute to the development of joint problems:
HEREDITY: Your parents gave you your beautiful eyes, strong jawline, exceptional math abilioty, and possibly, a tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists have discovered that the genetic marker HLA-DR4 is linked to rheumatoid arthritis, so if you happen to have this gewne, you're more likely to develop the disease. Ankylosing spondylitis is linke to the genetic marker HLA-B27, and although having this gener doesn't mean that you absolutely will get this form of arthritis, you can -- if conditions are gith.
AGE: It's just a fact that the older you get, the more likely you are to develop arthritis, especially osteoarthritis. Like the tires on your car, cartilage can wear down over time, becoming thin, craked, or even wearing through. Bones may also break down with age, bringing on joint pain and dysfunction.
OVERUSE OF JOINT: What do ballerinas, baseball pitchers, and tenni players all have in common? A great chance that they'll develop arthritis dues tot he tremendous repetitive strain they put on their joints. The dancers who go from flat foot to pointe hundreds of times during a practice session, often end up with painful arthritic ankles. Baseball pitchers, throwing fastballs at speeds of more than 100 mph, regularly develop arthritis of the shoulkdre and/or elbow. And you don't need to be a tennis pro to develop tennis elbow, a form of tendonitis that has sidelined many a player.
INJURY: Sustaining injury to a joint (from a household mishap, a car accident, playing sports, or doing anything else) increases the odds tha you may develop arthritis of the knee, which is certainly not surprising. They often fall smack on their knees or other joints when they're tackled -- then have a ton of "football flesh" crash down on top of them. What's a most amazing is that they ever walk away uninjured.
INFECTION: Some forms of arthritis are the result of bacteria, viruses, or fungi that can either cause disease or trigger it in susceptible people. Lyme disease comes from bacteria transmitted by the bite of a tick. Infectious arthritis can arise following surgery, trauma, a needle being inserted into the joint, boine infection, or an infection that's traveled from another area of the body.
STARGAZING: FAMOUS ARTHRITIS SUFFERERS
LUCILLE BALL was diagnose with rheumatoid arthritis at the age og 17, but she went on to live a long and healthy kife, enjoying a top-notch career in movies and television.
The famous French artist PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR developed RA in his late fifties, but painted nearly 6,000 pictures during his life time, many of them great masterpieces.
Dr. CHRISTIAN BARNARD developed rheumatoid arthristis as a youngster but went on to perform the world's first human heart transplant in 1967.
BILLIE JEAN KING has osteoathritis of the knees, probably the result of a car accident when she was 18 years old. Yet she won the Wimbledon singles titles for the sicth time when she was in her early thirthies and successfully took on Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis tournament.
WAYNE GRETZKY, possibly the greatest hockey player of all time, suffers from early signs of osteoarthritis.
(Source: Book "ARTHRITIS FOR DUMMIES" by Barry Fox, PhD/Nadine Taylor, MS,RD/Jinoos Yazdany, MD)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 11:14 PM