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 reactive arthritis? Reactive arthritis is pain or swelling in a joint that is caused by an infection in your body. You may also have red, swollen eyes and a swollen urinary tract. These symptoms may occur alone, together, or not at all. Most people with reactive arthritis recover fully from the first flare of symptoms and can return to regular activities 2 to 6 months later. Some people will have long-term, mild arthritis. A few patients will have long-term, severe arthritis that is difficult to control with treatment and may cause joint damage.
What is Sjögren’s syndrome? Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic (long-lasting) disorder that happens when the immune system attacks the glands that make moisture in the eyes, mouth, and other parts of the body. The main symptoms are dry eyes and mouth, but the disorder may affect other parts of the body. Many people with Sjogren’s syndrome say they feel tired often (fatigue). They also may have joint and muscle pain. In addition, the disease can damage the lungs, kidneys, and nervous system.
What is giant cell arteritis? Giant cell arteritis causes the arteries of the scalp and neck to become red, hot, swollen, or painful. The arteries most affected are those in the temples on either side of the head. These arteries narrow, so not enough blood can pass through. It is important that you get treatment right away. Otherwise, the arteries could be permanently damaged. There is also a risk of blindness or stroke. If you have giant cell arteritis, your doctor should also look for signs of another disorder, polymyalgia rheumatica. These conditions often occur together.
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