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Inflammatory Arthritis Center

Fast Facts About Inflammatory Arthritis

  • Inflammatory arthritis refers to a group of disorders caused by an overactive immune system that results in inflammation.
  • Inflammatory arthritis is also described as an autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s immune system sees its own healthy cells and tissues as “foreign”, and sets up to attack them.
  • Most types of inflammatory arthritis primarily affect the joints, tendons and ligaments. However it can also affect the heart, lungs, skin, eyes and other organs.
  • People with inflammatory arthritis can develop the disease at any age, even as toddlers.
  • Symptoms of inflammatory arthritis depend on the type of the disease. Some forms, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis affect the smaller joints, while others, such as spondylitis, affect the spine.
  • Inflammatory arthritis is different from osteoarthritis, a disease that is seen more with aging. (Osteoarthritis also affects the joints; however, this is not the result of the body’s altered immune response.)
  • If left untreated, inflammatory arthritis can result in irreversible damage to the joints and other affected organs.
  • Treatment can be most effective when it begins early on in the course of the disease.
  • Rheumatologists are expert physicians specialized in diagnosing and treating inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune diseases where joints can be involved.
  • With treatment, inflammatory arthritis can often be well-controlled and put into sustained remission, a state in which symptoms subside, and the risk of damage is greatly reduced.