Polymyositis: an attack on the muscles

Polymyositis, characterized by painful inflammation and muscle deterioration is a chronic condition of the connective tissue. It occurs in adults between 40 and 60 or in children between 5 and 15. Women have twice the risk of developing the condition than men.

Gout

Gout: The Royal Arthritis

Onsets of gout happen when the levels of uric acid in the blood become higher than normal, creating needle-like crystals which usually deposit in one of the joints - most frequently the toe, but sometimes also in the knee and finger joints. Once deposited in the joint, these rough and sharp particles may cause excruciating pains and inflammation. This condition has always been common among royalty and the upper classes. Still, it is in no way rare: It affects 16 out of a thousand men, and only 3 out of a thousand women, among which women rarely develop the condition before menopause.

This figure shows the areas of the body that reactive arthritis might affect.

Reiter's syndrome: it all starts with an infection

Reiter's syndrome is a chronic inflammatory disease. It occurs periodically and affects not only the joints (it usually starts in the knees, feet or ankles), but also other parts of the body, especially the urethra and the eyes. When it affects the eyes it can lead to conjunctivitis, the inflammation of the conjunctiva. The syndrome most commonly affects men between 20 and 40, among whom it develops after an infection with a sexually transmitted disease, but it can also occur in individuals with genetic predispositions connected with the HLA-B27 gene.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus: the great deceiver

Lupus is a chronic disease that usually causes inflammation of the joints, but also attacks the skin, kidneys, blood vessels, nervous system and almost all other organs. Nearly one in 750 women may suffer from lupus. Women are about nine times more likely develop the disease than men. This is mainly a young women's disease and it is even more common among ethnic minorities: in Jamaica it affects one in 250 women.

Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS): back pain, with deformations

AS (chronic inflammation of the spine) is today clinically diagnosed with 100.000 people in the UK. It is almost three times more common in men than in women, although it is possible that ratio is more equal since women often suffer from much milder forms of that condition which can usually get past being diagnosed.

AS is mostly a condition found among young people, and it most frequently affects those aging between 15 and 35 years. A condition once considered a component part of rheumatoid arthritis, today we know it is connected to it, but that it is also an individual condition.

Psoriatic Arthritis: Throught the skin to the joints

Although it reminds of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis does not create the characteristic RA antibodies. A negative rheumatoid factor test result helps to distinguish psoriatic from rheumatoid arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis attacks about 10% of the people suffering from psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis can develop at any moment regardless of age, but it usually develops in people between 30 and 50, in which, it seems, hereditary factors play a considerable role in increasing the risk of the disease.

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