07 May 2012

Autoimmune Arthritis

Autoimmune Arthritis

"We [IAAM] encourage all people to "Differentiate Your Arthritis".  This is our major international campaign launched for World Autoimmune Arthritis Day 2012:

Differentiate Your Arthritis

Don't rename it, reclaim it.

Define it and differentiate from the norm.

Then they'll understand." 

In order to be able to differentiate autoimmune arthritis from the other types of arthritis, one must understand what the words autoimmune and arthritis really mean. After that, one needs to know what the types of arthritis and related diseases are. Then one can know the difference between an autoimmune type of arthritis and a non-autoimmune type.

au·to·im·mune [aw-toh-i-myoon] 

adjective Immunology .
of or pertaining to the immune response of an organism against any of its own tissues, cells, or cell components.

1950–55; auto-1  + immune


a combining form meaning “self,” “same,” “spontaneous,” used in the formation of compound words: autograph, autodidact.
Also, especially before a vowel , aut-.

<;Greek,  combining form of autós  self


1. protected from a disease or the like, as by inoculation.
2. of or pertaining to the production of antibodies or lymphocytes that can react with a specific antigen: immune reaction. 
Note: Definition 2 is the definition used in the sense of autoimmune.

arthritis [ahr-thrahy-tis]  

acute or chronic inflammation of a joint, often accompanied by pain and structural changes and having diverse causes, as infection, crystal deposition, or injury.

Word Origin & History from Etymonline
"inflammation of a joint," 1540s, from L. arthritis, from Gk. nosos arthritis "disease of the joints," from nosos "disease" + arthritis, fem. of arthrites (adj.) "pertaining to joints" (Gk. nosos is a fem. noun), from arthron "a joint" (see arm (1)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper  
a combining form meaning “joint,” “jointed,” used in the formation of compound words: arthropod.
Also, especially before a vowel , arthr-.
<Greek,  combining form of árthron  a joint; akin to Latin artus  


a suffix used in pathological terms that denotes inflammation of an organ ( bronchitis; gastritis; neuritis ) and hence, in extended senses, nouns denoting abnormal states or conditions, excesses, tendencies, obsessions, etc. ( telephonitis; baseballitis ).
<Neo-Latin  (or Latin ) -ītis <;Greek

In short, autoimmune arthritis is a chronic inflammation of a joint (or joints) that pertains to an immune response of an organism against any of its own tissues, cells, or cell components. Put in more plain language, the body is attacking the joint tissue because it is erroneously recognizing it as an invader. 
More than 100 forms of arthritis and related diseases exist, affecting approximately 46 million Americans today. A complete listing follows:

Types of Arthritis and Related Diseases
Achilles tendinitis
Acromegalic arthropathy
Adhesive capsulitis
Adult Onset Still's disease*
Ankylosing spondylitis*
Anserine bursitis
Avascular necrosis
Behcet's syndrome
Bicipital tendinitis
Blount's disease
Brucellar spondylitis
Calcaneal bursitis
Calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD)
Crystal deposition disease
Caplan's syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Chondromalacia patellae
Chronic synovitis
Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis
Churg-Strauss syndrome
Cogan's syndrome
Corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis
Costosternal syndrome
CREST syndrome
Degenerative joint disease
Diabetic finger sclerosis
Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)
Discoid lupus erythematosus
Drug-induced lupus
Duchenne's muscular dystrophy
Dupuytren's contracture
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Enteropathic arthritis
Erosive inflammatory osteoarthritis
Exercise-induced compartment syndrome
Fabry's disease
Familial Mediterranean fever
Farber's lipogranulomatosis
Felty's syndrome
Fifth's disease
Flat feet
Foreign body synovitis
Freiberg's disease
Fungal arthritis
Gaucher's disease
Giant cell arteritis
Gonococcal arthritis
Goodpasture's syndrome
Granulomatous arteritis
Henoch-Schonlein purpura
Hepatitis B surface antigen disease
Hip dysplasia
Hurler syndrome
Hypermobility syndrome
Hypersensitivity vasculitis
Hypertrophic osteoarthropathy
Immune complex disease
Impingement syndrome
Jaccoud's arthropathy
Juvenile ankylosing spondylitis*
Juvenile dermatomyositis
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis*
Kawasaki disease
Kienbock's disease
Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
Lesch-Nyhan syndrome
Linear scleroderma
Lipoid dermatoarthritis
Lofgren's syndrome
Lyme disease
Malignant synovioma
Marfan's syndrome
Medial plica syndrome
Metastatic carcinomatous arthritis
Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD)*
Mixed cryoglobulinemia
Multicentric reticulohistiocytosis
Multiple epiphyseal dysplasia
Mycoplasmal arthritis
Myofascial pain syndrome
Neonatal lupus
Neuropathic arthropathy
Nodular panniculitis
Olecranon bursitis
Osgood-Schlatter's disease
Osteogenesis imperfecta
Overlap syndrome
Paget's disease of bone
Palindromic rheumatism
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Pellegrini-Stieda syndrome
Pigmented villonodular synovitis
Piriformis syndrome
Plantar fasciitis
Polyarteritis nodosa
Polymyalgia rheumatica
Popliteal cysts
Posterior tibial tendinitis
Pott's disease
Prepatellar bursitis
Prosthetic joint infection
Pseudoxanthoma elasticum
Psoriatic arthritis*
Raynaud's phenomenon
Reactive arthritis/Reiter's syndrome
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome
Relapsing polychondritis
Retrocalcaneal bursitis
Rheumatic fever
Rheumatoid arthritis*
Rheumatoid vasculitis
Rotator cuff tendinitis
Salmonella osteomyelitis
Saturnine gout
Scheuermann's osteochondritis
Septic arthritis
Seronegative arthritis
Shigella arthritis
Shoulder-hand syndrome
Sickle cell arthropathy
Sjogren's syndrome*
Slipped capital femoral epiphysis
Spinal stenosis
Staphylococcus arthritis
Stickler syndrome
Subacute cutaneous lupus
Sweet's syndrome
Sydenham's chorea
Syphilitic arthritis
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)*
Takayasu's arteritis
Tarsal tunnel syndrome
Tennis elbow
Tietse's syndrome
Transient osteoporosis
Traumatic arthritis
Trochanteric bursitis
Tuberculosis arthritis
Arthritis of Ulcerative colitis
Undifferentiated connective tissue syndrome (UCTS)*
Urticarial vasculitis
Viral arthritis
Wegener's granulomatosis
Whipple's disease
Wilson's disease
Yersinial arthritis
 *Items are types of "Autoimmune Arthritis" as defined by IAAM. 
Source:  Types of Arthritis. Arthritis Foundation, 2012. Web. 10 May 2012 .

The International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) introduced the term "Autoimmune Arthritis" to the community in 2009, as a movement of creating awareness about these misunderstood diseases by differentiating them from the other 100+ arthritis conditions. The term originated in medical journals but was never defined. Therefore, IAAM worked with a Rheumatology Board to determine an official definition and to select the main diseases that would fall into this category.

In 2012, "Autoimmune Arthritis" has developed into the politically correct phrase to describe a specific group of illnesses. By differentiating arthritis instead of lumping all types under one umbrella, awareness is finally happening.

"Autoimmune Arthritis" is defined as:
Chronic, systemic, inflammatory autoimmune diseases primarily affecting the joints.
They are caused by a malfunctioning immune system. While joint involvement is a primary factor, because they are systemic (whole body) they also affect the connective and soft tissues and even organs.

IAAM has partnered with a team of Rheumatologists to determine which diseases should be classified as "Autoimmune Arthritis" based on the definition above. Those listed here were determined, by the Rheumatology Board, to be Primary Autoimmune Arthritis diseases, or those that share the most common symptoms, onset, and treatment. We will continue working with the Rheumatology Board to expand this list and to add related diseases. The term "Autoimmune Arthritis" is pending international trademark, circa use in commerce 2010.

The  types of "Autoimmune Arthritis" are:

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

Juvenile Arthritis (JA)

Mixed and Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Diseases (MCTD/UCTD)*

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Sjogren's Syndrome (SS)

Still's Disease*

Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE)

*Still's Disease is listed as Adult Onset Still's Disease (AOSD) on the Arthritis Foundation List. Mixed and Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Diseases are separated into two diseases on the Arthritis Foundation list. Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease is listed as Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Syndrome (UCTS) on the Arthritis Foundation list.

It is worth noting that IAAM does have a disclaimer about the term "Autoimmune Arthritis" that states:
Based on our current research, there is no such "official classification" designating diseases as "autoimmune arthritis". It is, however, a term coined by IAAM in an attempt to bring together a group of arthritis diseases that share similar traits, symptoms, treatments, and onset, and has been copyrighted by IAAM.

Due to the lack of any scientific classification standards, we have developed a punch list of criteria we have used to designate a true "Autoimmune Arthritis". This includes, but is not limited to: primary joint involvement in 90%+ of all reported cases, autoimmune, inflammatory, systemic (full body)-involving connective and soft tissues and sometimes organs, fatigue/nausea/fevers, similar treatment plans. As of this point in time, the Rheumatology Board and IAAM has chosen to only include those diseases that are thought to be genetic and or environmentally/trauma induced. Infectious diseases are not included.
There are a number of people who have been pushing for a change of name for rheumatoid arthritis. I understand their feelings about the name. However, I feel that changing how it is classified, as an autoimmune arthritis, and making that classification an official designation will be much easier to implement than changing the name of rheumatoid arthritis. I've long felt that it does not matter so much what it is called as long as it is recognized as a serious disease that needs to be treated seriously. I think that making sure RA is properly categorized will go a long way toward this. Even if a name change was made, how many people who know it as RA would continue using RA? That would just add to the confusion that currently happens. I noticed that IAAM posted a comment on the subject. Below is their statement on a name change for RA.
IAAM does not support any official name change of any of the Autoimmune Arthritis diseases. To view our position regarding any movement to change titles of diseases that fall under the Autoimmune Arthritis umbrella, please view attached "IAAM's Stance Against Changing the Name of Rheumatoid Arthritis".(PDF)

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