It always seemed to me that women were more likely to suffer from arthritis than men, and that turns out to be true. The CDC put together this graph based on data from the National Health Interview Survey years 2007–2009. It shows that when arthritis begins at an earlier age, gender isn't much of a factor. As people get older, the gap between males and females with arthritis keeps getting wider. Not that we men are immune or anything. In all, more than one in five people suffer from arthritis. The CDC has a page at this link with resources to help in dealing with this condition.
Of course, it's not a single condition. The word itself is a fairly general term that means "joint inflammation". There are many different types. Below the fold is a link to slideshow presentation detailing (and I mean detailing) the specific effects of six different types of arthritis and touching on their causes.
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This diary is centered on a MedScape slideshow. For some time now, KosAbility has been featuring a lot of links to Medscape, and I'm taking a leap of faith that a good number of our regulars here have already signed up. I imagine I'll be hearing about it if that's not the case.
If you neither have nor want an account (which is free and easy enough to set up) you can still add your two cents in the comments. If you want to start an account now so you can follow along with tonight's format, jump down to the bottom of the diary. I borrowed mettle fatigue's useful tips & suggestions for setting one up. Go ahead. I'll wait.
Are we ready? Okay, here's what I had in mind. When you click this link: Radiographic Images of What Happens With Our Bones In Various Kinds of Arthritis, it'll open a new tab with the slideshow, so you can just click back and forth between that tab and this. Then, as you go through the slideshow, every time you see a word you don't know, you have to drink.
Nah, just kidding. Seriously, don't do that. Although many Medscape articles are written in more or less plain English, this thing reads like a medical transcription practice drill. That's because they're pointing out very specific features and locations. When a doctor needs that kind of specificity, s/he is naturally going to use the terminology that was developed to fulfill that need.
So I've made up a little list of definitions for some of the terms used in the slideshow. Most of the definitions are from MedicineNet. The ones that aren't have this symbol at the end: ^. Those were gleaned from here and there and put in my own words.
|Acetabulum: The cup-shaped socket of the hip joint. The acetabulum is a feature of the pelvis..||Ossify: To harden.|
|Ankylosing spondylitis: A type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine.||Osteophyte: Bone spur.^|
|Baker cyst: Also called a popliteal cyst; swelling caused by knee joint fluid protruding to the back of the knee.||Osteoporosis: Thinning of the bones, with reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calcium and bone protein.|
|Carpal (bone): One of the wrist bones. There are eight carpal bones that are arranged in two rows.||Phalanges: The bones of the fingers and of the toes. There are generally three phalanges (distal, middle, proximal) for each digit except the thumbs and large toes. The singular of phalanges is phalanx.|
|Carpometacarpal: the joint between a carpal (wrist) bone and a metacarpal (hand) bone.^||PIP - Proximal interphalangeal joints. Interphalangeal joints are the joints between two finger or toe bones, as opposed to the joints where the fingers or toes join the hand or foot.^|
|Chondro: a prefix that means "cartilage".^||Polyarticular: Involving multiple joints.^|
|Chondrocalcinosis: Calcium deposition in cartilage.||Proximal: Toward the beginning, the nearer of two (or more) items. For example, the proximal end of the femur is part of the hip joint, and the shoulder is proximal to the elbow. The opposite of proximal is distal.|
|Cortex: The outer part of a biological structure.^||Pubic symphysis: The joint between the pubic bones at the front of the pelvis.|
|Distal: The more (or most) distant of two (or more) things. For example, the distal end of the femur (the thigh bone) is the end down by the knee; the end more distant from the torso. The opposite of distal is proximal.||Sacroiliac joint: Where the base of the spine joins the pelvis.^|
|DIP - Distal interphalangeal joints. Interphalangeal joints are the joints between two finger or toe bones, as opposed to the joints where the fingers or toes join the hand or foot.^||Scaphoid: Another of the wrist bones.^|
|Dorsal: Relating to the back or posterior of a structure. As opposed to the ventral, or front, of the structure. Some of the dorsal surfaces of the body are the back, buttocks, calves, and the knuckle side of the hand.||Sclerosis: Hardening.^|
|Hallux valgus: A condition in which the big toe (hallux) is bent outward (toward the midline of the foot; valgus) so that it overlaps the second toe.||Seronegative: In this case, refers to the absence of what's called "rheumatoid factor" in the blood test for rheumatoid arthritis.^|
|Idiopathic: Of unknown cause. Any disease that is of uncertain or unknown origin may be termed idiopathic.|
|Lunate: One of the wrist bones.^||Spondyloarthropathy: Spondyl - vertebra. Arthro - joint. Pathy - disorder or disease condition. The 'y' ending makes it a noun. The 'o' after 'spondyl' is dumb and useless and makes the word a lot harder to pronounce than it needed to be.^|
|Macrophage: A type of white blood cell that ingests foreign material. Macrophages are key players in the immune response to foreign invaders of the body, such as infectious microorganisms.||Subluxation: Partial dislocation of a joint. A complete dislocation is a luxation.|
|Metacarpals: Five cylindrical bones extending from the wrist to the fingers.||Superior: In antomy, above or over top of. As opposed to inferior. The heart is superior to the stomach. The superior surface of the tongue rests against the palate.|
|Metacarpophalangeal joint: Joint between a hand bone and finger bone.^||Trapezium: One of the wrist bones.^|
|Metatarsophalangeal joint: Joint between a foot bone and a toe bone.^||Trapezoid: Another of the wrist bones.^|
MEDSCAPE is a mostly-plain-English news & research report service geared for healthcare professionals but FREE to all who register - click "Consumer" on the PROFESSIONS list in the registration process when first using a Medscape link.
Selecting multiple topics of interest for email notification may flood your inbox, because a tremendous number of medical journals contribute articles from all over the world to Medscape, so it's a good idea to start with few or none, and see how it goes. Many Medscape articles are commentable - if you use a pen-name for privacy, it's worth devising one that won't undermine your impact.
Where articles start with videos of speakers, there's always a transcript below the vid window (and you can shut sound off, of course, if you'd rather read than listen). Some articles are slideshows with explanatory text.
Keep in mind that the competitive nature of publishing can skew writing to suggest certainties not fully supported by findings, and there are always the basics to watch out for, such as, "Many Studies Have 'Elementary Statistical Errors'". Medical science, like every realm of human endeavor, is a work in progress. Read critically for best results.