World Autoimmune Arthritis Day: What it is

Posted on May 17, 2017 by kerri
Arthritis is a term that encompasses all sorts of joint pain or joint diseases. [1] Like other autoimmune diseases, autoimmune arthritis is caused by the body essentially “attacking” certain joints, causing pain, swelling, and movement problems. Autoimmune arthritis is also an umbrella term, covering a variety of types of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and many more. [1] Autoimmune arthritis can develop at any age, including in childhood. Some types of autoimmune arthritis are genetic, some are purely immune based, and some are caused by a combination of genes and environment. [2]
Symptoms of autoimmune arthritis include deformed (misshapen) joints, reduced range of motion, fatigue, weight loss, inflammation of the eyes, dry eyes and mouth, fever, chest pain with breathing (caused by inflammation in tissues around the lungs, called pleurisy), and other symptoms. [3, 4] Autoimmune arthritis can have symptoms beyond just joint pain. Fatigue, fever (low-grade fever in autoimmune arthritis), flu-like symptoms, “brain fog” (thinking problems), stiffness after rest, and other symptoms, often accompany multi-joint pain associated with autoimmune arthritis. [2]
When a person one autoimmune disease, they are more likely to get another. Some conditions that may also include autoimmune or autoinflammatory arthritis symptoms include Crohn’s disease, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, scleroderma; some conditions that may occur alongside autoimmune arthritis include fibromyalgia, Raynaud phenomenon, and dysautonomia. [2]
Because autoimmune arthritis is an “umbrella term”, treatment varies from person to person. Typical non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, acetaminophen), antirheumatic (arthritis) drugs, corticosteroids (which reduce inflammation in the body), biologic medicines (usually given as IV or injection), and immunosuppressants, are among medicines that may be given to treat autoimmune arthritis. [2.2]
Exercise is also important for people with autoimmune arthritis [2.2], and you may be assisted by a physical therapist in developing an exercise program if you have autoimmune arthritis.
If you have autoimmune arthritis, it is important to wear a medical ID bracelet, to assist doctors in accurately assessing your condition. As some symptoms of autoimmune arthritis can be similar to infection, it may help them to differentiate certain conditions if they are aware of your autoimmune arthritis. A medical ID bracelet for juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), medical necklace for ankylosing spondylitis, or medical jewelry for psoriatic arthritis, or any other autoimmune arthritis types, can help you stay safe when you need it most.

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