Rheumatoid and Autoimmune Diseases

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Rheumatoid arthritis

RA is a chronic type of arthritis with early symptoms like fatigue, joint pain, and stiffness. As the disease progresses, RA symptoms may feel like flu with achiness, muscle aches, and loss of appetite. Over time, this may lead to irreversible joint damage causing chronic pain, joint deformity and loss of normal movement.


Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, this is an autoimmune disease. When a person has an autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks itself, killing healthy cells and tissue, rather than doing its job to protect the body from disease and infection. Lupus can inflame and damage a person’s joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, blood vessels, heart, and brain. Lupus can be diagnosed by symptoms and blood tests.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis causes inflammation of the spinal joints (vertebrae) that can lead to severe, chronic pain and discomfort. In the most advanced cases this inflammation can lead to new bone formation on the spine, causing the spine to fuse in a fixed, immobile position. The severity of AS varies greatly from person to person; some will experience only intermittent back pain and discomfort, but others will experience severe pain and stiffness over multiple areas of the body for long periods of time. AS can be very debilitating, and in some cases, lead to disability.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Some people who have psoriasis, a common skin problem that causes scaling and rashes, also have arthritis. This disease often affects the joints at the ends of the fingers and can cause changes in the fingernails and toenails. Sometimes the spine can also be affected

Reactive Arthritis

This is a chronic form of arthritis featuring inflamed joints, inflammation of the eyes, inflammation of the genital, urinary or gastrointestinal systems. This is called reactive arthritis because it is felt to involve an immune system that is reacting to the presence of bacterial infections in the genital, urinary or gastrointestinal systems.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Arthritis

IBD is a group of disorders including Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis that causes inflammation of the intestines. Almost 7 to 20 percent of people with IBD develop arthritis, which typically affects the large joints of the lower extremities.


When a person has gout, they have higher than normal levels of uric acid in the blood. Too much uric acid causes deposits, called uric acid crystals, to form in the fluid and lining of the joints. The result is an extremely painful attack of arthritis. The most common joint gout affects is the big toe. Other joints that are commonly affected include the mid-foot, ankle, heel, and knee joints. Less commonly gout affects the fingers, wrists, and elbows.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

PMR is an inflammatory disorder that causes muscle pain and stiffness, primarily in neck, shoulders, upper arms, hips and thighs. PMR is related to and may coexist with another inflammatory disorder called Temporal arteritis which can cause headaches, visual impairment, jaw pain and other symptoms.


This is characterized by general feeling of discomfort, fatigue, muscle aches with tenderness to touch and weakness with loss of strength of muscles close to the trunk. Climbing stairs and getting up from chair can be difficult tasks initially. As the condition progresses, even swallowing or lifting the head from the pillow become quite challenging.


Scleroderma is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and organs of the body. This leads to thickness and firmness of involved areas. Organs affected include the esophagus, bowels, and lungs with scarring (fibrosis), heart, and kidneys.

Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that features inflammation in glands of the body that are responsible for producing tears and saliva resulting in dryness of the mouth and eyes. This may or may not be associated with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma.

Mixed Connective Tissue Disease

Connective tissue diseases are a special group of rheumatic diseases that can be associated with arthritis. The classic immune-related connective tissue disease include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, polymyositis, and dermatomyositis.

Raynaud Phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition that affects the blood vessels in the extremities—generally, the fingers or toes, and in some cases the nose or earlobes. This is characterized by episodic attacks in which the blood vessels in these areas constrict in response to cold temperatures and/or emotional stress and the skin turns pale or white and finally blue when the oxygen supply is depleted. This may or may not occur secondary to Scleroderma and lupus.


Fibromyalgia is a common, chronic, generalized pain syndrome of unknown origin. Although pain and tenderness are its defining features, fatigue, sleep disturbance, non-cardiac chest pain, depression and poor concentration are also common. FM also associates with a variety of health problems including irritable bowel syndrome, and mood disorders.


Most prevalent type of arthritis, particularly in adults 65 years and older. OA is a chronic degenerative arthropathy that frequently leads to chronic pain and disability. Age, Female gender, Obesity, Physical trauma, Occupation related repetitive injury are the risk factors.

Osteoarthritis causes joint pain and can limit a person’s normal range of motion (the ability to freely move and bend a joint). When severe, the joint may lose all movement, causing a person to become disabled. Disability most often happens when the disease affects the spine, knees, and hips.


Osteoporosis is a very common disorder affecting the skeleton. In a patient with osteoporosis, the bones begin losing their minerals and support beams, leaving the skeleton brittle and prone to fractures.

Age makes building bone mass more difficult. In women, the loss of estrogen at menopause can cause the bones to lose density very rapidly. When these weak bones are stressed or injured, they often break. Fractures most often occur in the hip or the bones of the spine (the vertebrae). They can also occur in the upper arm, wrist, knee, and ankle.


Bursa is a soft, fluid-filled sac that covers and cushions the movement between the bones, tendons and muscles near the joints. Bursitis is a painful inflammation or irritation of bursa due to overuse, injury or incorrect posture. This may also occur with other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, tuberculosis or psoriatic arthritis. Shoulder, elbow and knee bursae are often affected.


Tendon is a tough flexible band of fibrous tissue that connects the muscles to the bones. Due to overuse, the normal smooth gliding motion of the tendon is impaired and it becomes inflamed and the movement becomes painful. Age-related changes can also cause symptoms of tendonitis. Shoulder, elbow, hand, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle tendons are often affected.

Behcet’s Syndrome

Behcet’s syndrome is a disease that involves inflammation of the blood vessels. It causes problems in many parts of the body. The most common symptoms are Sores in the mouth, sores on the sex organs, other skin sores, swelling of parts of the eye, Pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints. More serious problems can include meningitis, blood clots, inflammation of the digestive system and blindness.

Polyarteritis Nodosa

Polyarteritis nodosa is an autoimmune disease that affects arteries, the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to organs and tissues. It occurs when certain immune cells attack the affected arteries. It damages the tissues supplied by the affected arteries because the tissues aren’t receiving the oxygen and nourishment they need. Generalized symptoms include abdominal pain, decreased appetite, fatigue, fever, joint aches, muscle aches, unintentional weight loss and weakness.

Takayasu Arteritis

Takayasu arteritis is an inflammation of the aorta — the artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body — and its major branches. Symptoms include arm weakness or pain with use, chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, fever, light-headedness, muscle or joint pain, skin rash, night sweats, vision changes and weight loss.

Lupus Nephritis

When lupus affects the kidneys, it is called lupus nephritis (LN). About one-third of those who suffer with SLE will encounter some kind of lupus nephritis. Symptoms and signs include blood in the urine, foamy urine, frequent nighttime urination, high blood pressure, inflammation and swelling of feet, ankles and legs due to loss of protein in the urine.

Wegener’s Granulomatosis

Wegener’s granulomatosis is a uncommon type of inflammation of small arteries and veins. Symptoms of Wegener’s granulomatosis include fatigue, weight loss, fevers, shortness of breath, bloody sputum, joint pains, and sinus inflammation (sinusitis). Nasal ulcerations and even bloody nasal discharge can occur. Eyes, nerves, middle ear and skin may become inflamed. Skin inflammation usually leads to skin nodules or ulcers.

Hypersensitivity Angiitis

Hypersensitivity angiitis is inflammation of small blood vessels, characterized clinically by palpable purpura.


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