I
ARTHRITIS
may be impaired, resulting in
cyanosis
(blue skin colour) and breathing diffi-
culty on exertion.
An isolated fistula that is causing
symptoms can often be cut away and
the ends of the blood vessels stitched
closed. However, if there are many fistu-
las, surgery is not practicable.
arteritis
Inflammation of an artery wall, which
causes narrowing or complete blockage
of the affected artery reduced blood
flow, and, in some cases,
thrombosis
and tissue damage.
TYPES
There are
several types
of arteritis.
Buerger’s disease
is
an
arteritis
that
affects the limbs, causing pain, numb-
ness, and, in severe cases,
gangrene
.
Polyarteritis nodosa,
a serious
autoimmune
disorder
(in which the immune system
attacks the body’s own tissues), can
affect arteries in any part of the body,
especially the heart and kidneys.
Tempo-
ral arteritis
affects arteries in the scalp
STRUCTURE OF AN ARTERY
The walls of an artery consist ofthree
layers: a smooth inner lining, a thick,
muscular, elastic middle layer, and a
tough, fibrous outer covering. Veins
have thinner walls, and most of them
contain valves.
Artery
Thin,
elastic
layers
Tough
outer layer
Muscular
middle layer
Vein
Tough
outer layer
inner coat
/
Inner coat
over the temples and may also affect the
retinal
artery in
the
eye. Takayasu’s
arteritis is thought to be an autoim-
mune disorder. This rare type of arteritis
usually
affects
young
women
and
involves the arteries that branch from
the
aorta
into the neck and arms.
artery
A blood vessel that carries blood away
from the
heart.
Systemic arteries carry
blood that has been pumped from the
left ventricle (lower chamber) of the
heart to all other parts of the body
except the lungs. The largest systemic
artery is the
aorta,
which emerges from
the left ventricle; other major systemic
arteries branch off from the aorta. The
pulmonary arteries carry blood from
the right ventricle to the lungs.
STRUCTURE
Arteries are tubes with thick, elastic,
muscular walls able to withstand the
high pressure of blood flow, to which
they are subjected on each heartbeat. The
structure of arteries helps to even out
the peaks and troughs of blood pressure
caused by the heartbeat, so that the
blood is flowing at a relatively constant
pressure by the time it reaches the
smaller blood vessels
(arterioles,
which
branch directly off the arteries and con-
nect to the even smaller
capillaries).
The
pulmonary arteries are thinner-walled
than
systemic
arteries
and
contain
blood at a lower pressure.
(See also
arteries, disorders of.)
arthralgia
Pain in the joints or in a single joint.
(See also
arthritis; joint.)
arthritis
Inflammation of one or more joints
that is characterized by pain, swelling,
and stiffness. Arthritis can vary in seve-
rity from a mild ache and joint stiffness
to severe pain and, subsequently, de-
formity of the joints.
TYPES AND CAUSES
There are several different types of
arthritis, each having different charac-
teristics. The most common type is
osteoarthritis,
which most often involves
the knees, hips, and hands. It usually
affects middle-aged and older people
because it results principally from wear
and tear on the joints.
Cervical osteo-
arthritis
is a form of osteoarthritis that
affects the joints in the neck.
Rheumatoid arthritis
is a damaging
auto-
immune disorder
(in which the immune
Arthritis in the hands
The joints in the hands of a person suffering from
rheumatoid arthritis are painful, swollen, and stiff.
In severe cases, the joints become deformed.
system attacks the body’s own tissues)
that causes inflammation in the joints
and other body tissues such as the peri-
cardium (the membrane covering the
heart), the lungs, and the eyes. The dis-
order has different effects in children
(see
juvenile chronic arthritis).
Ankylosing spondylitis
is another per-
sistent type of arthritis that initially
affects the spine and the joints between
the base of the spine and the pelvis.
Other tissues, such as the eyes, may
also be affected. Eventually, the disorder
may cause the vertebrae (the bones of
the spine) to fuse.
Reactive arthritis
typically develops in
susceptible people following an infec-
tion, most commonly of the genital
tract or intestines.
Gout
and
pseudogout
are types of
arthritis in which crystals are deposited
in a joint, causing swelling and pain.
Septic arthritis
is a relatively rare con-
dition that can develop when infection
enters a joint either through a wound
or from the bloodstream.
DIAGNOSIS
Diagnosis of particular types of arthritis
is made from
blood tests
and, in some
cases, microscopic examination of fluid
from the affected joint.
X-rays
or
MRI
(a
technique that produces cross-sectional
or three-dimensional images of body
structures) can indicate the type and
extent of joint damage.
TREATMENT
Physiotherapy
and exercises can help to
minimize the effects of arthritis, and
there are specific treatments for certain
types
(antibiotic drugs
for septic arth-
ritis, for example).
In severe cases, one or more of the
diseased joints may require
arthroplasty
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