Health Watch
  • The World Autoimmune Arthritis Day is observed annually on the 20th of May
  • It increases awareness about the autoimmune and autoinflammatory conditions that affect joints
  • Early diagnosis and treatment of these arthritides can slow down the progression of the conditions

The World Autoimmune Arthritis Day 2017, first established by the International Foundation of Autoimmune Arthritis, is observed on 20th May every year with the purpose of generating awareness about autoimmune conditions and autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases that mainly affect joints.
World Autoimmune Arthritis Day 2017

Here are some of the things that you should know about these joint diseases:
  • Autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases are conditions where the body produces proteins that act against various tissues of the body
  • Autoinflammatory diseases arise from the innate immune system. The immunity that the person is born with, usually has a genetic basis, and therefore appears earlier in life. Examples include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and Sjogren's syndrome
  • Autoimmune diseases usually arise due to acquired immunity that develops during the lifetime of the individual, and have a genetic basis along with an environmental influence, like the presence of stress. Examples include sarcoidosis and Still's disease
  • Some diseases like ankylosing spondylitis have features of both -- autoimmune arthritis as well as autoinflammatory diseases
  • Autoimmune and autoinflammatory arthritides mainly affect joints, resulting in swollen, painful and tender joints, with a difficulty in moving the joints. However, patients also experience extreme fatigue, fever, rash and sometimes organ involvement
  • Autoimmune arthritides are different from degenerative arthritis like osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition where the joints degenerate due to wear and tear. It affects weight-bearing joints and is predisposed by conditions like obesity
  • Early detection and treatment is necessary to slow down the progress of the condition and prevent severe joint damage and deformity. Therefore, awareness of such conditions is extremely important. Treatments involve the use of prescription NSAIDs, disease-modifying drugs (DMARDs) and biologicals.
Though the diseases have joint afflictions in common, they have several differences:
  • Rheumatoid arthritis more commonly appears in middle-aged women. It usually affects the smaller joints of the fingers, hands and wrists first, which can make it extremely difficult for patients to carry out daily activities
  • Psoriasis causes thick plaques on the skin due to an inability to shed older cells but can also affect joints
  • Sjogren's syndrome is a condition that causes dry mouth and dry eyes
  • Sarcoidosis causes masses called granulomas especially in organs like the lungs and the lymph nodes
Though much cannot be done to prevent autoinflammatory disorders, autoimmune diseases can be controlled to some extent.

Some tips for patients suffering from autoinflammatory or autoimmune disorders are:
  • Like most other modern-day diseases, lifestyle plays an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases.
  • In today's stressful environment, the importance of stress-relieving measures in the prevention of autoimmune diseases should not be underestimated.
  • A healthy diet and regular exercise are important not only to prevent autoimmune diseases, but also numerous other disorders like obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
References :
  1. Autoimmune Arthritis - (
  2. International Foundation For Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis - (
Source: Medindia

Most Popular on Medindia