Over a hundred types of arthritis are currently recognized. Among the degenerative arthritides, OA is the most common form, and the prototype of this group. In OA there is inflammation within the joint, but there is no evidence of whole-body inflammation, a key feature in distinguishing OA from the inflammatory arthritides. In general, OA affects a few joints, usually the large weight-bearing joints of the lower extremities, such as the knees and hips. Osteoarthritis can also affect the hands, especially in women, but without the systemic illness that characterizes inflammatory diseases such as RA. The etiology of OA is unknown, but the primary pathological problem is degradation of the cartilage leading to loss of joint space and bony overgrowth, causing pain first with weight-bearing, then with passive motion, and finally at rest.
In contrast, in an inflammatory arthritis such as RA there is a systemic illness with inflammation of many joints, usually the small joints of the hands, wrists and feet, often spreading to include the knees and hips. There is evidence of a systemic immune response, with activation of clones of autoreactive T cells and increased production of many cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-1^, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-a, IL-6, and others. There is also activation of the acute-phase response, with reduced albumin synthesis and increased production of fibrinogen, C reactive protein, and other acute-phase reactants. The systemic inflammation leads to altered energy and protein metabolism and wasting of body cell mass and muscle mass, described as 'rheumatoid cachexia.'
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Did You Know That Herbs and Spices Have Been Used to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Successfully for Thousands of Years Do you suffer with rheumatoid arthritis Would you like to know which herbs and spices naturally reduce inflammation and pain 'Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis with Herbs, Spices and Roots' is a short report which shows you where to start.