Pronounced "I Am", as in "I am an advocate for those affected by primary joint diseases with an autoimmune component."
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Primary joint diseases with an autoimmune component
"Autoimmune Arthritis" is a term first used by scientists and researchers in the 1980's to differentiate their studies from other arthritis types, but was never publicized. In 2009 our group took the term and made it public, in an effort to differentiate arthritis types and particularly to group together the handful of primary joint diseases with an autoimmune component. What started as an effort to use this term for awareness quickly turned into a revelation that this cluster of diseases actually have overlapping onset symptoms, then continue to overlap in similarities and treatments even after diagnosis. This became important for education, and even medical advances, because if these diseases can be recognized earlier, then referrals can happen earlier, as well as diagnosis, treatment, and even better the chances of remission. After this realization we formed IAAM in 2011 and are now the first organization that advocates solely for this disease group.
Symptoms of all the diseases most often include
- Joint pain/joint inflammation
- Connective and soft tissue involvement (this often presents as Costochondritis, inflammation of the tissues between the rib cage in the chest area as well as the soft tissue in the mouth or on the tongue)
- Low grade fevers
- Flu-like symptoms
- Brain fog
These are not ALL the symptoms but they are the ones most shared among the group of Autoimmune Arthritis diseases. It’s really the area of joint involvement that differs.
Other Common Symptoms that are shared:
- Skin involvement
- Eye inflammation
- Dental decay
- Breathing issues (due to inflammation of the lining of the lungs)
- Organ involvement
Extended Autoimmune Arthritis Diseases
Many autoimmune diseases can involve the joints, like Crohn’s and Scleroderma, but there is one major difference that make these “Extended Autoimmune Arthritis diseases” instead of main Autoimmune Arthritis diseases: Primary Joint Disease. For example, Crohn’s is a primary gastrointestinal disease and Scleroderma is a primary connective tissue disease. So while they are autoimmune diseases and can have arthritis, since they are not first and foremost joint diseases they are considered Extended Diseases. We feel "Extended" is a more appropriate term than "Related Diseases" because Extended is more inclusive. We do recognize the joint involvement and autoimmune component in these diseases; the major separating factor in "Extended" and a full Autoimmune Arthritis disease is in the primary area of origin or body attack.
We hope that our research on the core Autoimmune Arthritis diseases will help to also spread awareness and understanding of Extended Autoimmune Arthritis diseases.
**Autoimmune Arthritis a term used by scientists and researchers dating back to the 1980's and coined by IAAM in 2009 in an attempt to differentiate primary joint diseases with an autoimmune component from other degenerative joint and autoimmune conditions. By using updated, and more politically correct language, IAAM hopes to promote better understanding of these diseases, as well as earlier detection, referrals, diagnosis, and treatments.