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 scoliosis? Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine. Children and teens with scoliosis have an abnormal S-shaped or C-shaped curve of the spine. The curve can happen on either side of the spine and in different places in the spine. With treatment, observation, and follow-up with the doctor, most children and teens with scoliosis have normal, active lives.
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 Raynaud’s phenomenon? Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition that causes the blood vessels in the hands and feet to narrow, decreasing blood flow. When this happens, parts of the body—usually the fingers and toes—become cold and numb, and change color (usually, to white or blue). An attack usually happens from exposure to cold or stress.
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 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.