Diseases and Conditions
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Excerpts are taken from National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and American College of Rheumatology & Medline Plus
Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA)
The immune system makes an abundance of proteins called antibodies. Antibodies are made by white blood cells and they recognize and combat infectious organisms in the body. Sometimes these antibodies make a mistake, identifying normal, naturally-occurring proteins in our bodies as being "foreign" and dangerous. The antibodies that target “normal” proteins within the nucleus of a cell are called antinuclear antibodies (ANA). ANAs could signal the body to begin attacking itself which can lead to autoimmune diseases, including lupus, scleroderma, Sjögren's syndrome, polymyositis/ dermatomyositis, mixed connective tissue disease, drug-induced lupus, and autoimmune hepatitis.
Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (commonly called antiphospholipid syndrome or APS) is a recently identified autoimmune disease present mostly in young women. Those with APS make abnormal proteins called antiphospholipid autoantibodies in the blood. This causes blood to flow improperly and can lead to dangerous clotting in arteries and veins, problems for a developing fetus and pregnancy miscarriage. People with this disorder may otherwise be healthy, or they also may suffer from an underlying disease, most frequently systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called SLE).
Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis is a form of osteoporosis—sometimes called OP—that is caused by taking glucocorticoid medicines. These drugs include prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone, etc.), prednisolone (Prelone), dexamethasone (Decadron, Hexadrol), and cortisone (Cortone). They are common treatments of many rheumatic (joint and muscle) diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, myositis (muscle inflammation) and polymyalgia rheumatica.
Gout is a painful and potentially disabling form of arthritis that has been around since ancient times. The first symptoms usually are intense episodes of painful swelling in single joints, most often in the feet, especially the big toe. The swollen site may be red and warm. Treatments are available to control most cases of gout. However, diagnosing gout can be hard, and treatment plans often must be tailored for each person.
Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (Wegener's)
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's) is a rare blood vessel disease. It can cause symptoms in the sinuses, lungs and kidneys as well as other organs. This is a complex and potentially serious disease. However, with prompt diagnosis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis—also called GPA can be treated effectively.
Myopathy is the medical term for muscle disease. Some muscle diseases occur when the body's immune system attacks muscles. The result is misdirected inflammation, hence the name inflammatory myopathies. This damages muscle tissue and makes muscles weak. People with inflammatory myopathies may have these features: weakness in the large muscles around the neck, shoulders and hips, trouble climbing stairs, getting up from a seat, or reaching for objects overhead, little, if any, pain in the muscles, choking while eating or aspiration (intake) of food into the lungs and shortness of breath and cough. Sometimes patients can have the rash with no sign of muscle disease, called amyopathic dermatomyositis.
Lupus is a chronic (long-term) disease that causes inflammation — pain and swelling. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system and other organs of the body. Most patients feel fatigue and have rashes, arthritis (painful and swollen joints) and fever. Lupus flares vary from mild to serious. Most patients have times when the disease is active, followed by times when the disease is mostly quiet — referred to as a remission.
This is the most common type of arthritis, affecting an estimated 27 million adults in the United States. Osteoarthritis affects both the cartilage, which is the tissue that cushions the ends of bones within the joint, as well as the underlying bone. In osteoarthritis, there is damage to the cartilage, which begins to fray and may wear away entirely. There is also damage to the bond stock of the joint. Osteoarthritis can cause joint pain and stiffness. Disability results most often when the disease affects the spine and the weight-bearing joints (the knees and hips).
Osteonecrosis, which is also called avascular necrosis or aseptic necrosis, is the death of bone cells due to decreased blood flow. It can lead to pain and collapse of areas of bone. This collapse of bone, in turn, can lead to degenerative arthritis (also called osteoarthritis) of nearby joints, most often the hips and knees. Less often affected spots are the shoulders, hands and feet. Rarely, osteonecrosis can occur in the jaw. This can result in ulcers (sores) of gum tissue, exposed jaw bone and pain.
Osteoporosis is a "silent" condition where the bones are weak and prone to fracture. Bone is living tissue that is in a constant state of regeneration. That is, the body removes old bone (called bone resorption) and replaces it with new bone (bone formation). By their mid-30s, most people begin to slowly lose more bone than can be replaced. As a result, bones become thinner and weaker in structure. Osteoporosis is silent because there are no symptoms (what you feel). It may come to your attention only after you break a bone. When you have this condition, a fracture can occur even after a minor injury, such as a fall.
Paget's Disease of Bone
Normally, as people age, their bones rebuild at a slower rate. For those with Paget's disease, however, this process of rebuilding the involved bones takes place at a faster rate. As a result, the rebuilt bone has an abnormal structure. The involved bone can be soft, leading to weakness and bending of the pelvis, low back (spine), hips, thighs, head and arms. Or, the rebuilt bone can enlarge, making it more susceptible to arthritis, hearing loss, fractures and discomfort. Given that this takes place in those over the age of 40, the symptoms often are mistaken for changes associated with aging.
Because this disease involves tendons, muscles, ligaments, and tissues around the joint, symptoms often include pain, aching, and morning stiffness in the shoulders, hips, neck, and lower back. It is sometimes the first sign of giant cell arteritis, a disease of the arteries characterized by headaches, inflammation, weakness, weight loss, and fever.
Psoriasis is a disease in which scaly red and white patches develop on the skin. Psoriasis is caused by the body's immune system going into overdrive to attack the skin. Some people with psoriasis can also develop psoriatic arthritis, when the immune system attacks the joints as well, causing inflammation. Like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis symptoms flare and subside, vary from person to person, and even change locations in the same person over time. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body, and it may affect just one joint, several joints or multiple joints. For example, it may affect one or both knees.
Reactive arthritis is a painful form of inflammatory arthritis (joint disease due to inflammation). It occurs in reaction to an infection by certain bacteria. Most often, these bacteria are in the genitals (Chlamydia trachomatis) or the bowel (Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella and Yersinia). Chlamydia most often transmits by sex. It often has no symptoms, but can cause a pus-like or watery discharge from the genitals. The bowel bacteria can cause diarrhea.
RA is a chronic (long-term) disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling and limited motion and function of many joints. While RA can affect any joint, the small joints in the hands and feet tend to be involved most often. Inflammation sometimes can affect organs as well, for instance, the eyes or lungs. The stiffness seen in active RA is most often worst in the morning. It may last one to two hours (or even the whole day). Stiffness for a long time in the morning is a clue that you may have RA, since few other arthritic diseases behave this way. For instance, osteoarthritis most often does not cause prolonged morning stiffness.
Sjögren's syndrome is an inflammatory disease that can affect many different parts of the body, but most often affects the tear and saliva glands. Patients with this condition may notice irritation, a gritty feeling, or painful burning in the eyes. Dry mouth (or difficulty eating dry foods) and swelling of the glands around the face and neck are also common. Some patients experience dryness in the nasal passages, throat, vagina and skin. Swallowing difficulty and symptoms of acid reflux are also common.
Scleroderma (also known as systemic sclerosis) is a chronic disease that causes the skin to become thick and hard; a buildup of scar tissue; and damage to internal organs such as the heart and blood vessels, lungs, stomach and kidneys. The effects of scleroderma vary widely and range from minor to life-threatening, depending on how widespread the disease is and which parts of the body are affected.
Spondyloarthritis differs from other types of arthritis in that it involves the “entheses.” These sites are where ligaments and tendons attach to bones. Symptoms present in two main ways. The first is inflammation causing pain and stiffness, most often of the spine. Some forms can affect the hands and feet or arms and legs. The second type is bone destruction causing deformities of the spine and poor function of the shoulders and hips
Tendinitis and Bursitis
Tendons are cord-like structures located where a muscle narrows down to attach to a bone. The tendon is more fibrous and dense than the elastic, fleshy muscle. A tendon transmits the pull of the muscle to the bone to cause movement. Tendinitis is often very tender to the touch.
Vasculitis refers to inflammation of the blood vessels. These vessels include arteries and veins. Vasculitis can result in poor blood flow to tissues throughout the body, such as the lungs, nerves and skin. Thus, vasculitis has a wide range of signs and symptoms (what you see and feel), such as shortness of breath and cough, numbness or weakness in a hand or foot, red spots on the skin ("purpura"), lumps ("nodules") or sores ("ulcers"), on the other hand, vasculitis of the kidneys may produce no symptoms at first but is still a serious problem. Vasculitis can be mild or disabling, or even lead to death.
Welcome to Arthritis and Rheumatology Specialists, P.A currently located in Decatur, Texas. We are dedicated to providing high quality and a compassionate service to all our patients.
We specialize in treating rheumatic diseases including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and many other illness' as well. We also provide the latest treatment to our patients so they stay happy.
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