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Arthritis Comes in Many Forms
Arthritis is a painful joint condition, which is specifically marked by swelling of the joints, that affects millions of people. There are dozens of forms of arthritis, but some are much rarer than others. A list and description of a few of these rare forms of arthritis follows.
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Reiter's Syndrome (Reactive Arthritis)
Reiter's syndrome, or what is also known as reactive arthritis, follows an infection that usually strikes the digestive system or reproductive system. Reiter's syndrome is marked by painful swelling in the knees, ankles, and feet, and sometimes causes irritation to the eyes and the urethra. In many cases, the symptoms of Reiter's Syndrome last for a relatively short period (up to a year) and may or may not recur.
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Adult Onset Still's Disease
Adult onset Still's disease is a very rare form of arthritis that affects the entire body. Symptoms include joint pain, muscle pain, widespread rash, and elevated fever, to name a few. Still's disease symptoms can come and go quickly or they can persist for several years (i.e., they can be chronic). Further, the severity of symptoms varies widely on an individual-by-individual basis. For example, some individuals are only slightly bothered by symptoms, while others are completely debilitated.
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Mycotic Arthritis (Fungal Arthritis)
Mycotic arthritis, which is sometimes referred to as fungal arthritis, arises following fungal infection. In many cases, the source of the fungal infection is rotten food, a yeast infection (vaginal), the soil, and airborne particles (spores). Those who have mycotic arthritis typically experience swelling and pain in major joints, and most commonly in their knee joints. Mycotic arthritis symptoms tend to disappear when the culprit fungal infection is rid from the body. This is typically achieved by treating the sufferer with antifungal agents, amphotericin B or ketoconazole, for example.
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Polymyalgia rheumatica (PR) is a form of arthritis that is marked by soreness and stiffness in the hips, thighs, neck, upper arms, and shoulders. While few people who have PR experience these symptoms in each one of these body parts, most experience problems in two or more of these areas. PR is unusual in that its symptoms can appear and remain for long periods of time, such as a year or more, and then go away entirely for equally long periods of time. Risk factors for developing PR include age (average first onset is age 70), sex (twice as likely to affect women than men), and race (it is particularly predominant among Northern European/Scandinavian individuals).
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Psoriatic is marked by red patches that appear on the skin throughout the body, and about 5% of all individuals who are affected by psoriasis go on to develop arthritic symptoms (when this occurs, the condition is referred to as psoriatic arthritis). Individuals who suffer from psoriatic arthritis typically experience swollen and painful joints in the fingers and toes. In severe cases, pain and inflammation in the spine occurs. Psoriatic arthritis often is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, which act to reduce pain and swelling in the joints.
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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus)
The cause or causes of systemic lupus erythematosus, or merely lupus for short, remain unknown, but are believed to be linked to genetic and environmental factors. Like many forms of arthritis, lupus symptoms tend to wax and wane. Common symptoms include rash, fever, extreme fatigue, and, of course, joint pain and inflammation. Lupus often also affects body organs such as the lungs, skin, brain. liver, and kidneys. When this occurs, symptoms usually are treated by a multi-disciplinary team of doctors. Lupus affects blacks and females, and particularly young females (age 15 to 40), more than it does men and people of non-black races.
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Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Polymyalgia Rheumatica: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Health-Conditions/Polymyalgia-Rheumatica.aspx
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/lupus.htm
Mayo Clinic, Reactive arthritis: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/reactive-arthritis/DS00486
Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health, Fungal arthritis: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000444.htm
Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health, Psoriatic arthritis: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000413.htm
Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health, Reiter Syndrome: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/1933.htm
St. John's Mercy Health Care, Adult Onset Still's Disease: http://www.stjohnsmercy.org/healthinfo/kb/default.asp?hwid=nord1210