The purpose of this research paper is to explore the history of arthritis, its symptoms, various kinds of arthritis, its transmission, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. The choice for arthritis is based on the need to clarify some facts about the disease such as whether it is communicable and whether it is treated. In addition, the rationale for choosing arthritis also stems from the fact the disease can be traced back to prehistoric times, which makes it an interesting disease to study. The first documented case of arthritis was in the 1940s; nevertheless, symptoms of the disease can be traced back to the prehistoric times. Pain is the most common symptom although its severity differs in accordance with the type. Arthritis is also characterized by stiffness in joints, aching joints, and swelling. Other disorders associated with arthritis such as rheumatoid and lupus arthritis can have an effect on other parts of the body, resulting in diverse symptoms like difficulties in joint motion, tenderness, pain, aching muscles, loss of weight, fatigue, walking inabilities, reduced flexibility, reduced aerobic fitness, and weakness in the muscles. Some of the major forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout arthritis. Others include infectious arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. With respect to treatment, it is imperative to note that arthritis has no cure. In addition, treatment is determined by the arthritis type. It can include such options as medications, joint replacement surgery, and physical therapy.

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Medical Terminologies

  • Acetaminophen. It is a drug used to reduce fever.
  • Cartilage. It is a flexible, whitish, firm, combined tissue found in numerous forms in the respiratory tract.
  • Corticosteroid. It is anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Inflammation. It is a process when the body tries to protect itself by removing damaged cells to start the process of healing.
  • Orthovisc. It is a knee injection used to relieve pain.
  • Osteoarthritis. A disorder that affects joints, making them unable to move as smoothly as normally.
  • Psoriatic arthritis. It refers to the arthritis form that features silvery scales with skin red patches topped.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. It is a chronic illness that results in inflammation of joints, as well as aching immobility and deformity, particularly in ankles, feet, wrists, and fingers.
  • Supartz. A treatment used to relieve knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, normally made of a mixture of highly purified sodium hyaluronate.
  • Synovectomy. It is an operation performed to remove all or partial synovial membrane.
  • Synovial fibroblasts. They are a distinct joint inside the joints.
  • Synvisc. An injection increases the knee fluid to help cushion and lubricate the joint.

History of Arthritis

For years, arthritis has affected human beings of different ages. There was no officially documented case of people suffering from arthritis until recently in the 1940s. Funds to cater for the arthritis research were not available. People who suffered from arthritis were bedridden for many days with no emergency help required. Few treatments available were delayed until too much damage was done to a patient’s body that was irreversible. Prehistoric arthritis can be traced to rheumatoid arthritis of dinosaurs. An insignificant proportion of dinosaurs suffered from a disease similar to human arthritis. In addition, evidence from fossil indicated other arthritis forms affected dinosaurs such as gout. Further examination of Tyrannosaurus’s bones has showed a distinct hole found in gout patients’ bones. Arthritis early references were found long ago in 4500 BC.

The first description of symptoms comparable to rheumatoid arthritis published in a text dated 123 AD. Native Americans’ skeletal remains found in Tennessee confirmed the details. The bones in Tennessee were among the earliest rheumatoid sufferers. Currently, it has been found that Native Americans are likely to suffer from the disease more often than ethnic groups. It was later discovered that rheumatoid arthritis spikes together with tuberculosis and that the hypervigilant immune system is defensive against tuberculosis with the risk of an increase in autoimmune disease. In the 17th century, the disease was uncommon and later it spread across the Atlantic in the period of Exploration. The name arthritis was made up by Dr. Alfred Baring Garrod who was a British rheumatologist in 1859. In 1800, Dr. Augustin Jacob Landre-Beauvais made the first rheumatoid arthritis description. William Musgrave’s publication on arthritis was among the most vital known as De Arthritide Symptomatica in 1715. In the 1500s, rheumatoid arthritis was described with paintings of hands deformed with the disease. It was evident in Peter Paul Rubens’s art that illustrate the rheumatoid arthritis effects.

Symptoms of Arthritis

The first symptom of arthritis symptoms includes limited functioning of joints and pain. Joint inflammation is because of warmth, redness, swelling, and stiffness of joints. A patient can lose the range of motion. Many people go through pain and disability because of arthritis complications. Most arthritis types cause symptoms that can affect several body organs other than the joints. For that reason, other patients with a given type of arthritis will suffer from gland swelling, fever, weight loss, feeling unwell, and fatigue. Osteoarthritis symptoms depend on affected joints. They include deep aching pain and swelling of joint until it loses motion. A patient will have difficulty when combing hair and dressing. A person may have difficulty with gripping objects. In addition, a person has problems with bending over and sitting. A patient encounters morning stiffness for almost an hour and pain when waking up. In addition, a person may feel stiffness after resting.

However, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can start suddenly or even occur gradually. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are severe, leading to stiffness, loss of appetite, and fatigue. A patient may have stiffness and feel pain, at the same time experiencing swelling of hands, elbows, shoulders, wrists, and knees. Occasionally, pain affects one body part. A patient with rheumatoid arthritis encounters a symmetrical joint pain. When one knuckle on the right hand swells, the left one swells too. Eventually, many joints will begin to swell and become painful and, when touched, they feel warm. A swollen joint hinders a person from doing various activities such as walking, working, driving, or opening a jar. Morning stiffness always begins as irritation in the morning and can last for as long as even a day. A patient loses appetite and begins to lose weight. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect eyes, lungs, heart, rash, and fever; usually, it occurs when immune system spreads to body parts other than joints.

Kinds of Arthritis

There are various types of arthritis, which include gout, inflammatory, septic, lupus rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. The gout arthritis is caused by crystals accumulating in the joints. The inflammatory type of arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system fails. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most prevalent kind of inflammatory arthritis with over 1 million Americans being affected and 75% of them being women. Research shows that about 2% of women are probable to acquire rheumatoid arthritis in their lifespan. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks body parts. The joints are the most affected areas by this breakdown in the immune system. With time, chronic inflammation may end up causing severe deformities and joint damage. About 20 percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis develop lumps on the skin known as rheumatoid. Areas most affected are heels, elbows, and knuckles. Another type of arthritis is osteoarthritis also known as the degenerative joint disease. It is the most common chronic joint condition with nearly thirty three million Americans affected. The extreme use of joints and the aging phenomenon cause osteoarthritis.

The overworking of joints can be attributed to obesity, while weight bearing joints are overloaded with the increasing weight. Moreover, it can be caused by sports that are demanding, which injure joints. Mostly, it occurs to former dancers and athletes as they experience hardship when waking up in the morning. Psoriatic arthritis is yet another kind of the disease. A chronic sickness causes joints and skin inflammation. The most affected areas are the scalp, skin around anus, knees, the navel, and elbows. Psoriatic arthritis affects toes and fingernails, causing them to swell in a sausage-like shape and discoloring them. Often, patients are affected on a few joints. For instance, one patient’s knee might be affected and not the other, or the spine, as well as just toes and fingers. Psoriatic arthritis affects males and females equally and mostly it strikes in between the age of 30 and 50 years although rarely in childhood. Psoriatic arthritis usually appears separately. The skin disease also known as psoriasis comes first before the joint disease also known as arthritis in almost 80% of patients, whereas in 15% of patients arthritis might precede psoriasis.

Is Arthritis Limited to One Person?

The two kinds of arthritis that include infectious arthritis and reactive arthritis are often alleged to be contagious whereas they are not. A patient with reactive arthritis condition cannot pass the disease onto another person. The National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Disease has proven that arthritis is not communicable. Nevertheless, the bacteria that cause reactive arthritis can be moved from one person to the other through sexual intercourse and contaminated food. In addition, infectious arthritis does not spread from one person to another. Moreover, the virus that causes gonorrhea is contagious. For instance, a patient with infection from gonorrhea and German measles organism may acquire septic arthritis because they spread.

How Is Arthritis Spread?

Regarding rheumatoid arthritis, neighboring cells on affected joints spread rheumatoid arthritis through blood vessels to other joints. Rheumatoid arthritis results in destruction and inflammation of joints. Usually, it affects few joints and later spreads to other joints in the human body. The manner in which rheumatoid arthritis spreads from joint to joint is not yet known. Research shows that synovial fibroblasts cells spread the disease. Joints cells present in lining are usually implicated in the damage of cartilage related with rheumatoid arthritis. Koopman and Moreland cite a research study that was conducted, whereby a healthy person’s cartilage tissue was implanted with synovial fibroblasts taken from persons affected with rheumatoid arthritis inside a section of a lab, whereas the remaining side part was injected with healthy cartilage minus the affected fibroblasts.

Few months later, synovial fibroblasts had transferred from one side, passing through blood vessels and causing cartilage damage. The transfer of rheumatoid arthritis from joint to joint is partially a result of synovial fibroblasts migration via the bloodstream. However, osteoarthritis is a degenerative illness of cartilage causing bone overgrowth beneath the cartilage. A few patients acquire osteoarthritis when they have disturbing joint injury, whereas others acquire osteoarthritis genetically. Normally, the infection starts with a big joint like a knee or hip. A person suffering from osteoarthritis may have pain in a knee joint hindering them from walking; then, later it affects other joints like the spine due to predisposition and alignment to osteoarthritis.

What Is the Diagnosis, Treatment of the Disease?

The important step towards arthritis treatment is diagnosis. Medical personnel will consider patient’s symptoms and carry out physical examination to look for swollen joints or motion failure through X-rays and blood tests for confirmation. In order to determine the arthritis type, blood tests and X-rays must be carried out. For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, most of their blood has antibodies known as rheumatoid factors. However, rheumatoid factors may be found in other conditions as well. For osteoarthritis patients, X-rays help to diagnose cartilage damage, bone rubbing against bone in case of extreme cases, and bone spurs. Another way of ruling out the arthritis type consists in the medical personnel drawing some fluid sample from the joint and testing it. Usually, testing of the fluid sample helps confirm the diagnosis and decide on the manner of treatment.

Arthritis treatment includes drugs, surgery for patients with damaged joints, physical therapy, exercise, and rest. Osteoarthritis treatments help reduce stiffness and pain; however, the illness may continue to progress. In turn, rheumatoid arthritis has been managed through newer treatments that have helped either reduce or stop damage from arthritis to progress. Occupational therapy helps arthritis patients protect their joints through such therapy as avoiding positions that strain the joins. Patients are also advised to use their strongest muscles and joints when sparing those that are weaker. Patients should use support or braces to protect other joints. While bathing, arthritis patients should use grab bars. Moreover, they should use improved walkers, canes, and doorknobs. It is advisable for arthritis patients to use devices to help with opening jars and pulling up zippers and socks. Arthritis treatment depends on seriousness and nature of the underlying condition.

Mainly, treatment helps improve affected joints to stop further damage and reduce inflammation. A specialist will recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like Aleve and acetaminophen. Another medicinal treatment is corticosteroid joint injection to reduce stiffness and pain on affected areas. The result after treatment depends on a patient since some patient’s results of treatment are temporary pain relief or long-lasting dominance of symptoms. Another treatment includes injecting a solution of hyaluronic acid such as orthovisc, supartz, synvisc, and hyalgan that mixes with normal fluid of the joints and help reduce pain and intensify flexibility. Infectious arthritis treatment contains large intravenous doses of antibiotics and draining of excess infected fluids out of joints. However, when arthritic inflammation and pain persist or joints become too damaged, a surgical replacement would be the option. Surgery is required to moderate uneasiness of arthritis or restore functioning of joints and mobility. This includes synovectomy, which is elimination of broken connective tissue lining a joint cavity. Technology has enabled replacement of hip, knee, shoulders, elbow, and fingers with plastic and stainless steel. Psoriatic arthritis has no cure; as a result, patients focus more on regulating symptoms and preventing joints damages. In most cases, a patient might be disabled if psoriatic arthritis is not treated.

Multiple Questions

  • Arthritis can take the following forms except?

A. Joint inflammation disease

B. Chronic disease

C. A genetic disease

D. Brain disease

  • Which of the following are not arthritis symptoms?

A. Fatigue and stiffness

B. Joint inflammation and swelling

C. Swollen lymph nodes

D. Redness and tenderness

  • Is arthritis contagious?

A. Yes

B. No

Summary and Lesson Learnt

This paper has explored the history of arthritis, its symptoms, various kinds of arthritis, its transmission, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. The first documented case of arthritis was in the 1940s; however, symptoms of the disease can be traced back to the prehistoric times. For example, few dinosaurs were reported to have exhibited symptoms similar to human arthritis. Fossil evidence also shows that dinosaurs suffered from gout arthritis. Symptoms of arthritis vary depending on the type. The most common one is pain. However, its severity differs according to the type. Aching joints, stiffness in joints, and swelling are some of the arthritis symptoms. Other disorders associated with arthritis such as rheumatoid and lupus arthritis can have an effect on other parts of the body, leading to diverse symptoms like difficulties in joint motion, tenderness, pain, aching muscles, loss of weight, fatigue, walking inabilities, reduced flexibility, reduced aerobic fitness, and weakness in the muscles.

The major forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout arthritis. There are also such kinds as infectious arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. As to treatment, it is needed to note that arthritis has no cure. In addition, treatment is determined by the arthritis type. There are some treatment options such as physical therapy, medications, and joint replacement surgery. A number of lessons have also been learnt. For instance, this research has clarified the fact that arthritis is not communicable although the virus causing the disease can be transmitted from one individual to another. The paper has also helped clarify the fact that arthritis cannot be cured although it can be managed to help reduce symptoms.