What is arthritis? "Arthritis" literally means joint inflammation. Although joint inflammation is a symptom or sign rather than a specific diagnosis, the term arthritis is often used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints. Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee. There are different types of arthritis. In some diseases in which arthritis occurs, other organs, such as your eyes, heart, or skin, can also be affected. Fortunately, current treatments allow most people with arthritis to lead active and productive lives.
What is Paget’s disease? Paget’s disease of bone is a chronic (long-lasting) disorder that causes bones to grow larger and become weaker than normal. Usually only one or a few bones have the disease. Many people with Paget’s disease do not have symptoms. However, the bone changes can cause: Bone pain. Misshapen bones. Broken bones (fractures). Problems in the joints near the bones with the disease. With treatment, many people can: Manage their symptoms. Improve pain. Control the effects of the disease.
What is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. This increases your risk of broken bones (fractures). Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease because you may not have symptoms. You may not even know you have the disease until you break a bone. Breaks can occur in any bone but happen most often in: Hip bones. Vertebrae in the spine. Wrist. You can take steps to help prevent osteoporosis and broken bones by: Doing weight-bearing exercises, such as walking or dancing, and lifting weights. Not drinking too much alcohol. Quitting smoking, or not starting if
What is reactive arthritis? Reactive arthritis happens when an infection causes joint pain and swelling. A bacterial infection in the digestive or urinary tract or the genitals usually triggers the condition, but arthritis symptoms typically do not start until a few weeks after you have recovered from the infection. The most common features of reactive arthritis are inflammation of the joints (especially the knees and ankles), eyes, and urinary tract, but not everyone gets all three, or they might not happen at the same time.
What is pemphigus? Pemphigus is a rare disease that causes blistering on many parts of the body, including the skin and the inside of the mouth, nose, throat, eyes, and genitals. In pemphigus, the immune system mistakenly attacks cells in the top layer of the skin.
What is vitiligo? Vitiligo is a chronic (long-lasting) disorder that causes areas of skin to lose color. When skin cells that make color are attacked and destroyed, the skin turns a milky-white color. No one knows what causes vitiligo, but it may be an autoimmune disease. In people with autoimmune diseases, the immune cells attack the body’s own healthy tissues by mistake, instead of viruses or bacteria. A person with vitiligo sometimes may have family members who also have the disease. There is no cure for vitiligo, but treatment may help skin tone appear more even.
What is rheumatoid arthritis? Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that mostly affects joints, such as the wrist, hands, feet, spine, knees, and jaw. In joints, RA causes inflammation that leads to: Pain. Swelling Stiffness. Loss of function. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder because the immune system attacks the healthy joint tissues. Normally, the immune system helps protect the body from infection and disease. RA may cause you to feel unusually tired, to have occasional fevers, and to have a loss of appetite. It also may cause other medical problems in the heart, lungs, blood, nerves, eyes
The recent observance in May of National Arthritis Awareness Month offered us a chance to reflect on a sizable component of the NIAMS mission area. Arthritis impacts the lives of nearly 60 million Americans. However, a recent conversation with David Wilson, Ph.D., director of NIH’s Tribal Health Research Office, reminded me that arthritis hits some communities harder than others.