Dr. Thomas C. Namey, MD, FACP, FACR

Rheumatism & Arthritis

Dr. Namey is one of the most well-known rheumatologists in the United States. His unending knowledge on the biology and chemistry of this crippling disease gives him the ability to diagnose and treat complex and rare forms of the disease. Dr. Namey is a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology- learn more at rheumatology.org and rheumatoidarthritis.org (you will leave Dr. Namey's site).

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory arthritis in which joints of the hands and feet are inflamed, resulting in swelling, pain and destruction of joints. Worldwide, RA develops in roughly 1% of the population, affecting women 2 to 3 times more often than men. First signs of the disease usually appear between the ages of 25 and 50, but it can occur at any time. There are over 100 types of arthritis. Three common types are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage that protects and cushions joints breaks down over time. Eventually, the bones—formerly separated by the cartilage—rub against each other, resulting in damage to the tissue and underlying bone and causing painful joint symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammation of the membranes or tissues lining the joints. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis may destroy the joint tissues, including cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bone, and, in rare but severe cases, may cause organ damage. Gouty arthritis (gout) is an inflammatory joint disease that causes acute pain and swelling. It is a form of arthritis that develops when uric acid crystals form in and around the joints, commonly affecting the big toe joint (this symptom is called podagra). People who have gout may have a very painful attack in one or two joints followed by the total disappearance of all symptoms until the next attack.

Similar to RA, but develops at a much younger age. Symptoms and prognosis differ from that of adult RA. Over time, the inflammation may destroy the joint tissues, leading to disability. If left untreated, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis will cause serious health problems down the road. It is important that a child see a rheumatologist as soon as the disease is suspected so that treatment can be given immediately.

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), sometimes called juvenile chronic arthritis, is a childhood disease that causes inflamed, swollen jointsthat are often stiff and painful. JRA affects about 1 in 1,000 children aged 16 and younger. Pauciarticular JRA (also called oligoarthritis) is the most common type, affecting about 60% of all children with JRA. In this type, 1 to 4 joints are affected. Polyarticular JRA (also called polyarthritis) affects about 30% of children with JRA. Five or more joints are affected in this type. Systemic JRA affects 10% of children with JRA. It causes whole-body symptoms, such as fever and rash, which usually occur before joint symptoms appear. Systemic JRA may affect any number of joints.

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