Most rheumatology conditions include symptoms of inflammation. These symptoms can vary from mild to severe — and can result in pain, swelling, and achiness. But, not all conditions with inflammation fall into arthritis or osteoporosis categories. That’s why we offer treatment plans for all rheumatology conditions that cause inflammation to help you find relief from your symptoms.
The immune system makes an abundance of proteins called antibodies. These are designed to recognize and combat infectious organisms in the body. When an antibody recognizes the foreign proteins of an infectious organism, it recruits other proteins and cells to fight off the infection. This cascade of attack is called inflammation.
Sometimes these antibodies make a mistake, identifying normal, naturally-occurring proteins in our bodies as being foreign and dangerous — we call them autoantibodies. Autoantibodies start the cascade of inflammation, causing the body to attack itself. The antibodies that target normal proteins are called antinuclear antibodies (ANA).
Most of us have autoantibodies, but typically in small amounts. The presence of a large amount of ANAs can indicate an autoimmune disease. This can lead to a myriad of other conditions and complications. A positive ANA can also be seen in juvenile arthritis.
Gout is a painful and potentially disabling form of arthritis that has been around since ancient times. It is sometimes referred to as the disease of kings because people long have incorrectly linked it to the kind of overindulgence in food and wine, which only the rich and powerful could afford. But, gout can affect anyone, and its risk factors vary.
The first symptoms usually are intense episodes of painful swelling in single joints, most often in the feet — with 50% occurring in the big toe. The swollen site may be red and warm.
Fortunately, it is possible to treat gout and reduce its very painful attacks by avoiding certain foods and medication triggers and taking medicines that can help. But, diagnosing gout can be difficult. That’s why our treatment plans are tailored for each person.
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, which damages muscle tissue and makes muscles weak. This occurs more often in men than in women.
People with inflammatory myopathies may experience weakness in the large muscles around the neck, shoulders, and hips. They may have trouble climbing stairs, getting up from a seat, or reaching for objects overhead. They may also choke while eating — resulting in food entering the lungs, shortness of breath, and coughing.
The inflammatory myopathies include polymyositis and dermatomyositis. People with dermatomyositis usually develop a rash — which appears as purple or red spots on the upper eyelids or as scaly, red bumps over the knuckles, elbows, or knees. Sometimes, patients can have a rash with no sign of muscle disease.
Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune condition that can occur at any age but is most common in older women. Many patients develop Sjögren’s syndrome as a complication of another autoimmune disease — such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Symptoms vary in type and intensity, but many people with Sjögren’s are able to live normal lives. Most of the treatment for Sjögren’s syndrome is aimed at relieving symptoms of dry eyes and mouth, and preventing and treating long-term complications — such as infection and dental disease.
Treatments often don’t completely eliminate the symptoms of dryness. Most patients with Sjögren’s syndrome remain healthy, but some rare complications have been described — including an increased risk for cancer of the lymph glands, called lymphoma. Thus, regular medical care and follow up is important for all patients.
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 the result of repetitive use and is often acute.
This condition is very tender to the touch. Tendinitis or bursitis often involves the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle. The pain it causes may be quite severe and often occurs suddenly. Unlike arthritis, the pain is often in parts of the body far from a joint.
Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. This small sac acts as a cushion between moving structures — such as bones, muscles, tendons, or skin. If a muscle or tendon is pulling around a corner of a bone, or over a bone, a healthy bursa protects it from fraying and stress. When a bursa is inflamed, it becomes very painful, even during rest.
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AOC is committed to educating our patients about their condition and any other rheumatic disorders that may be impacting your life. That’s why we provide a variety of resources to keep you informed. Still have questions? Our experts are available to answer them.