May is National Arthritis Month: Part 4

May is National Arthritis Month: Part 4

I am going finish this week with the last post of this series about the different types of arthritis and related diseases.

Since there are so many different types of arthritis I am going to choose a few that have interesting names. I will get to the rest of theses diseases throughout the next six months, so let just move ahead and dig into it.

What is Familial Mediterranean Fever?

Familial Mediterranean fever is a hereditary illness characterized by:

  • is diagnosed in children with repeated attacks of painful inflammation in the abdomen, chest or joints,
  • often accompanied by fever
  • rash
  • or headache.

Sometimes inflammation may happen in other parts of the body:

  • the heart
  • the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord
  • and the testicles

Familial Mediterranean Fever episodes start before the age of 20 years in approximately 90% of the patients. In about 75% of patients, fever appears before the age of 10 years.


Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) is a genetic disorder. There is a mutation in the MEVVgene, which encodes a protein called pyrin (also known as marenostrin) found in white blood cells.


There is no cure for FMF. An acute episode is treated with:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • acetaminophen for pain relief
  • and an intravenous saline may be administered for hydration.
  • To prevent future attacks and amyloidosis, (The buildup of amyloid proteins in the heart, kidneys, liver, or other organs) lifetime treatment with colchicine (a yellow compound present in the corms of colchicums, used to relieve pain in cases of gout) is required.

What is Chondromalacia Patella?

Chondromalacia patella causes pain and tenderness in front or side of the knee and a grinding sensation in the knee. This condition is also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome or more commonly as “runner’s knee.”

Who is Affected?

It is more common in:

  • adolescents
  • and young adults
  • women
  • and athletes that engage in sports that put a lot of stress on the knee.


The most common symptom is pain that worsens when:

  • walking up or down stairs.
  • kneeling
  • squatting
  • or sitting cross-legged
  • getting up from a chair


It’s usually treated with:

  • rest
  • pain relievers
  • and physical therapy
  • stabilize the knee with wraps or braces
  • Exercises that strengthen the muscles around the knee to deliver additional support to the joint may be beneficial.

If these treatments don’t work, surgery may be needed.

What is Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis?

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (an excessive growth of bone) (DISH) is a bony hardening (calcification) of ligaments in areas where they attach to your spine.

DISH can also affect your neck and lower back. Some people have DISH in other areas, such as shoulders, elbows, knees and heels.


  • Stiffness
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Hoarse voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain
  • Lumbar spine stenosis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Myelopathy

Who is affected?

You’re more likely to get DISH if you:

  • Are male.
  • Are over age 50.
  • Have diabetes and other conditions
    • Gout
    • Hyperlipidemia
  • Certain medications
  • Are a member of the Pima tribe.
  • Have unusual spine anatomy.
  • Repeatedly move or lift heavy objects, though this connection is controversial.

None of these factors alone causes DISH.


There is no cure for this disorder. Treatment focuses on keeping the condition from worsening and preventing complications.

Because of the relationship between DISH and conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, taking care of yourself and treating these conditions may slow or halt the advancement of DISH.

May is National Arthritis Month: Part 4


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