Sally wakes up on a Monday morning, and following her daily
routine searches for a new outfit, reaches for a cup of coffee, and squats
down to tie her shoes. However, Sally has arthritis and even the simplest of
such tasks is a bitter reminder of her chronological disease, which to her
seems more like a warrant of pain.
Arthritis is defined as joint inflammation — derived from the Greek arthron
meaning joint and supplemented by the suffix "itis" meaning inflammation.
There are many types of arthritis; in its most forms, arthritis is a chronic
or lifelong disease. One of the most common forms of arthritis is rheumatoid
arthritis (RA), which is an autoimmune disease that involves inflammation in
the membrane lining of the joints and/or internal organs. The inflamed joint
lining, called the synovium, can attack and damage — by the release of a
class of degradatory/digestive enzymes from the inflammatory cells — bone and
cartilage. The joint involved can lose its shape and alignment, resulting in
pain and partial loss of movement (1).
It is rather important to diagnose arthritis in its early stages. This
assures an immediate start on treatment. A few of the symptoms include:
• Swelling of joints
• Difficulty moving accompanied by acute pain
• Loss of appetite
• Loss of energy
• Anemia (a decreased amount of oxygen-carrying
substance (hemoglobin) found in red blood cells through a number of means—
results in weakness)
• Rheumatoid nodules, which are lumps of tissue
under the skin in areas that receive pressure (2)
Though the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not quite known yet, experts have
been able to come up with a few potential theories. A probable cause of RA is
that glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are self-antigenic carbohydrates, cause
autoimmune dysfunctions that involve the expansion of GAG-binding cells which
travel to anatomical sites rich in GAGs. The GAG-binding cells may promote
the inflammation and pathology seen in RA patients (3).
RA is an exceptionally common illness. In fact, 2.1 million people — near one
percent of all American adults — are diagnosed with RA (4). Who’s at risk for
RA can be determined by three factors: age, gender, and heredity. Usually,
those who get arthritis are in their twenties or thirties. In addition, there
is some bad news for the women. About two to three times as many women as men
suffer from RA. Many people with RA have a certain genetic marker called
HLA-DR4 (5). Therefore, researchers suspect that visrus-like agents may
"trigger" RA in some people who have an inherited tendency for the disease.
Furthermore, researchers suspect other genes that influence the development
Obviously RA is an unpleasant condition, but many misinterpret the effects
and pains of this chronic illness. In the beginning stages of the disease,
the patient will notice fatigue, soreness, stiffness, and aching. As time
progresses, the disease become more painful, because the swelling may
increase. RA usually affects the feet, wrist, and hands, but usually not the
joints that are closest to the fingernails (except the thumb). After a while,
the inflammation may increase onto other joints such as the elbows, shoulders,
neck, knees, hip, and ankles. Inflammation tends to expand over an extended
period, and over time other joints such as the elbows, shoulders, neck,
knees, hip, and ankles may swell. Swollen joints may continue to become more
damaged, and unfortunately cause more pain. However, the severity varies from
person to person, and even from day to day. In some people, only a few joints
are affected and the impact may be small. In other people, the entire body
system may be affected.
Though rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, treatments can’t still help
relieve the pain and suffering. When the common cold strikes, a few pills and
a possible syrupy medicine is prescribed to ease the patient through the
healing process; arthritis is no exception! Medications are categorized into
two groups. Symptomatic medications (symptom targeted), such as Nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), asprin, analgesics, fibromyalgia and gout
medications, and glucocorticoids help reduce the characteristic stiffness,
swelling, soreness, and joint pain. The other type of medications are
disease-modifying medications (disease targeted), which include methotrexate,
leflunomomide, D-pinicillamine, sulfasalazine, minocucline, azathioprine,
disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD), and hydroxycloroquine (6).
Other than drugs, treatments range from surgery to, believe it or not,
environmental change. Surgery is rare, but certain forms of therapy may help.
Even though exercised seems like the worst thing for an RA patient, the two
actually go hand in hand. Now suppose your physician told you to move to a
more suitable place because you had RA, would you be confused? Of course,
anyone would be. However, an area with a dry, hot climate, such as southwest America, has been proven to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. And unlike the "Rest it and
it will heal" motherly advice, RA is not a disease to "wait out." Resting
will help in that the joint is not being overworked, however, no matter how
long one rests, RA will never be completely treated (7).
Though treatments have come a long way, there is always room for improvement.
The hopes for the future are to have better treatments that will have a
greater effect in reducing pain. Also, new research focuses on different
types of arthritis individually and focuses on gene therapy, vaccines, and
biologic response modifiers.
Gene therapy, of course, is a treatment for genetically linked disease where
a defective gene makes one with the genetic marker more susceptible to a
disease. However, there are drawbacks to this solution that is why it is not
in use today. One disadvantage is that this may not work in people with early
signs of certain types of arthritis. Much research remains to be done.
Vaccines are being investigated as RA is thought to be caused by a virus or
bacterium in persons with a predisposition for the disease. If researchers
are able to identify what the exact cause is, they will be able to develop a
vaccine as a treatment. Research is hopeful and ongoing to find biologic
response modifiers that target tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a protein that
An overview of arthritis (in particular rheumatoid arthritis) depicts a
glimpse into the discipline of scientific research. It is with the
implementation of a broad range of experiments and the individual talent of
scientists which make the worldwide effort to alleviate disease hopeful.
Perhaps even more importantly, the importance of science education, worldwide
communication between scientists, and marriage of various scientific
disciplines is well represented in this fight against arthritis.
The point to site different works is to site EVERY argument you have. So when
you talk about "people misinterpret the effects and pains" paragraoh, you
need to site some paper that you get that argument from.
Also, stop using Which and That so much and find clever ways to fix up verbs
and adjectives to alleviate the use of which and that.