Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease with hallmark symptoms of inflammation and resulting pain. It is a disease process (like cancer or diabetes) where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy joints. It is a relatively common disease-approximately 300,000 or 1 in 100 Canadians get it-and is often devastating to a person’s body if not treated properly.
The disease process causes swelling and pain in and around joints and can affect the body’s organs, including the eyes, lungs, and heart. Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the hands and feet. Other joints often affected include the elbows, shoulders, neck, jaw, ankles, knees, and hips. When moderate to severe, the disease reduces a person’s life span by as much as a dozen years.
Below are ten rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, as listed in this WebMD’s article, that may indicate something more serious: Continue reading
Can Lyme disease cause arthritis? The answer is yes.
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According to WebMD, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by a tick. The disease can enter the bloodstream if the tick bite is not treated within six months. It then becomes a chronic condition that causes fatigue, arthritis and cognitive difficulties.
Below are some symptoms of Lyme disease which may or may not develop in each case: Continue reading
Not according to recent findings.
Shingles is a major concern for people with autoimmune conditions, particularly people who are older and more at risk for developing shingles in general. Shingles is caused when the same virus that causes chickenpox, which stays hidden in the body, is reactivated.
This recent study focused on people with autoimmune diseases. The medicine to treat some of these conditions are called anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drugs. They suppress the immune system. As a result, they can increase the risk of some infections.
The new study looked at records for about 60,000 people with autoimmune diseases. It compared shingles rates for those who took anti-TNF drugs and those who took other drugs. There was no increase in shingles among people taking anti-TNF drugs. People taking high doses of another type of medicine called a corticosteroid had twice the odds of developing shingles.
Read more: Serena Gordon, HealthDay, March 2013
Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDMS) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease affecting approximately three in one million children.
Autoimmune diseases generally occur when the body’s immune system begins to malfunction and attack healthy tissue in various parts of the body, causing inflammation and damage. In dermatomyositis, muscle and skin are attacked by inflammation, but the joints, lungs, heart, and intestinal tract can also be affected.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is chronic inflammatory arthritis developing in children under the age of 16 years. Previously called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), juvenile idiopathic arthritis strikes up to one in 1000 children and is one of the most common chronic diseases among children.
Beat Arthritis: A Joint Venture with the Arthritis Research Foundation by Johanna Kendall
From the National Post, February 26, 2013 – This is the story of Erinn McQueen, a varsity athlete who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in her third year of university, at the age of 21. Now 34 years old and married with two children, Erinn had her hip replaced in March 2011 and is unable to return to work. She has tried a variety of treatments over the years, “including biologics that can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year.” She is quoted as saying, “I have been on intravenous infusion treatments and the injections I give myself… It was a pretty difficult thing to realize that I likely wouldn’t play again or even just go for a run… I sort of view RA as the opponent, I wake up every day and know that this is my challenge.” Continue reading