Essay about Arthritis

1873 Words 8 Pages
Arthritis is a general term for approximately 100 diseases that produce either INFLAMMATION of connective tissues, particularly in joints, or noninflammatory degeneration of these tissues. The word means "joint inflammation," but because other structures are also affected, the diseases are often called connective tissue diseases. The terms rheumatism and rheumatic diseases are also used. Besides conditions so named, the diseases include gout, lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis, degenerative joint disease, and many others, among them the more recently identified LYME DISEASE.

Causes of these disorders include immune-system reactions and the wear and tear of aging, while research indicates that the nervous system may
…show more content…
The symptoms of RHEUMATIC FEVER usually occur 2 to 3 weeks after the onset of a severe streptococcal sore throat. Acute pain and swelling "migrate" from joint to joint over a period of several days.

The inflammation, which persists for less than three months, can usually be controlled by aspirin and rest, and it produces no residual deformity. Less than 1 percent of children with streptococcal sore throats develop rheumatic fever, and a small number of these will develop rheumatic heart disease. Rheumatic fever only rarely occurs if the streptococcal sore throat is treated early with an antibiotic such as penicillin. The inflammation of the joints and the heart in rheumatic fever apparently occurs because the body's immune response to the streptococcus damages tissues.

For this reason, rheumatic fever has been termed an autoimmune disease. Gout and Pseudogout The inflammatory process in these diseases is unrelated to infection. Rather, inflammation is incited by the deposition in the joint of uric acid present in the bloodstream. An attack of acute gouty arthritis is caused by the formation of needlelike crystals of the deposited uric acid. When these crystals are ingested by white blood cells, the cells release enzymes that evoke inflammations.

Uric acid is a normal breakdown product of urine metabolism. Abnormally elevated blood levels of uric acid, which are associated with gouty arthritis, arise

Related Documents