Conditions

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

This is a disease that affects women mainly (but can affect men) over the age of 50. It makes them feel very old- 10-20 years older than they are. They are very stiff especially around the shoulder and hip areas and can hardly walk or move when they wake up. Bloods tests show excessively raised inflammatory markers. Treatment generally is with steroids and can improve symptoms hugely within a day.

For a fuller understanding of this disorder, please access:

Arthritis Research UK Publications

Gout

All humans have a chemical in their blood called urate - may protect against dementia. However, in people with gout, this level can be double of what is considered normal. This crystallises (producing thousands of sharp crystals in ones' joints) out at certain times (trauma, temperature drop, dehydration) and irritates certain joints; classically the big toe which causes intense pain. Risk factors including being male, over-weight and excessive alcohol intake- classically beer. This disease is treated with a drug that reduce a person’s urate level. Traditionally, this is allopurinol.

For a fuller understanding of this disorder, please access:

Arthritis Research UK Publications

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

This is disease that can affect any person at any age. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, the body thinks its own joints (usually hands and feet) are foreign and attacks them - just like it would if you had an infection. The difference being your joints are attacked for years if not treated and thus, untreated rheumatoid arthritis leads to permanent joint damage. Rheumatoid arthritis activity is not limited to joints and can significantly increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Fortunately, if diagnosed and treated early and aggressively, all this damage can be prevented. There are a huge array of treatment options- did you know the most profitable drug in the world is a rheumatoid arthritis drug- Humira.

For a fuller understanding of this disorder, please access:

Arthritis Research UK Publications

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

This is similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis but the difference being one is affected by Psoriasis (or have a relative with psoriasis)- a scaly skin condition. It can not only affect multiple joints like RA but can affect one large joint like the knee, the spine or where the tendons insert into your bones - i.e. tennis or golfer’s elbow, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis. It can be related to Ankylosing Spondylitis. Treatment is similar to rheumatoid arthritis.

For a fuller understanding of this disorder, please access:

Arthritis Research UK Publications

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

Back pain is very common- the whole world will have it from time to time. This in the vast majority of cases is due to wear and tear- disc prolapses hitting a nerve causing sciatica, joints rubbing against each other causing pain, etc. Classically, pain occurs on use as opposed to rest- this is mechanical back pain.

However, AS is different. This is due to inflammation in the spine. The presentation is different from mechanical back pain. The pain here is better with use than rest, wakes one up at night, causes stiffness in the mornings and can be associated with psoriasis or eye inflammation.

For a fuller understanding of this disorder, please access:

Arthritis Research UK Publications

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is one of the commonest musculoskeletal disorders that can affect adults resulting in widespread pain and suffering. This is due to how pain is processed in these patients (peripherally; in joints/muscle and centrally; the brain). This is very hard to confirm with tests and is why most fibromyalgic patients have negative test results which usually leads to a delay in making the diagnosis and a reluctance by the medical profession to accept this as a true illness. The ideal way to treat this condition is through time and input by an expert. This illness can commonly co-exist with other rheumatological disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.

If you think you may suffer from fibromyalgia, please consider taking the screening test opposite.

For a fuller understanding of this disorder, please access:

Arthritis Research UK Fibromyalgia

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