Autoimmune arthritis is the name given to a group of arthritis types where a person’s immune system attacks itself. When the immune system attacks itself, it causes inflammation in joints that can cause pain, stiffness, and mobility problems.
Some of the most common forms of autoimmune arthritis include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: The most common type of autoimmune arthritis. Causes swelling and pain in hands, feet, and wrists.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: Can occur in people with a skin condition called psoriasis. The affected joint areas can be almost anywhere on the body including the spine, knees, fingers, and toes.
- Reactive Arthritis: Occurs in those who have a history or certain bacterial infections like chlamydia, salmonella, shigella, or campylobacter. Along with joint pain, this can cause redness of the eyes, burning with urination, or a rash on the soles of the feet or palms of hands.
- Ankylosing Spondyloarthritis: Causes arthritis of the spine, resulting in pain and stiffness in spinal joints.
- Axial Spondyloarthritis: Affects the pelvic joints and the spine.
- Juvenile Arthritis: Affects about 300,000 children in the United States. It can cause joint pain, eye inflammation, fevers, and rashes.
- Palindromic Rheumatism: Rare type of arthritis that causes episodes or attacks of joint inflammation that then resolve. Often affects fingers, wrists, and knees. Symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness, and fever.
Symptoms of autoimmune arthritis varies depending on each type, but common symptoms include:
- Joint pain
- Reduced range of motion
- Eye inflammation, dry eyes, itchy eyes, or eye discharge
- Chest pain when one breathes
Diagnising can be done by image scanning (CT, X-ray, MRI), blood testing, and tissue sampling; however, no test can diagnose with absolute certainty. Both genetics and environmental factors can put you at risk so be sure to talk to your doctor about family history and your daily habits when talking about autoimmune arthritis.