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
What is Marfan syndrome? Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s ability to make healthy connective tissue, which supports the bones, muscles, organs, and tissues in your body. The condition can affect different areas of the body, including: Bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Organs, such as the heart and lungs. Skin.
What is gout? Gout is a type of arthritis that causes pain and swelling in your joints, usually as flares that last for a week or two, and then go away. Gout flares often begin in your big toe or a lower limb. Gout happens when high levels of a substance called serum urate build up in your body. When this happens, needle-shaped crystals form in and around the joint. This leads to inflammation and arthritis of the joint. However, many people with high levels of serum urate will not develop gout. With early diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle changes, gout
A bioengineered molecule designed to bind together key components found in the fluid that surrounds joint areas may improve lubrication and minimize friction. This could potentially slow the degeneration of cartilage tissue that occurs in knee osteoarthritis, according to a study conducted in rats and funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The study was published in Nature Materials. The synovial fluid that bathes our joints is composed of several types of lubricants, including hyaluronic acid (HA) and lubricin. In healthy joints, this fluid ensures that tissues move together smoothly and without
Integrins, a large class of cell surface molecules, play a role in a skin disease called scleroderma, according to research funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and published in the journal Nature. The study showed that targeting integrins in mice with a form of scleroderma reversed the skin abnormalities associated with the disease. Scleroderma is a potentially life-threatening condition in which previously healthy people develop scarring of the skin, and in some cases damage to blood vessels and internal organs. In most forms of scleroderma, the cause of the disease is
Media Availability What: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new oral medication for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis that represents a new class of drugs for the disease. The drug, tofacitinib (Xeljanz), provides a new treatment option for adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response to, or who are intolerant of, methotrexate, a standard therapy for the disease. Affecting nearly 1.5 million adults, rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. It occurs when the immune system, which normally defends
A higher level of a small signaling molecule correlates with a more severe form of scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disorder that involves the abnormal growth of connective tissue, according to a study funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The findings suggest that the molecule, CXCL4, could be used as a diagnostic marker for the disease and as a therapeutic target. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease characterized by damage to blood vessels and thickening and scarring of the skin. In some cases, internal
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a team of scientists has detected structural changes in the knee joint that precede signs of osteoarthritis seen on X-rays. The study, which was supported in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), calls into question the assumption that damage to cartilage is the primary underlying cause of osteoarthritis. The findings appeared in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology.