Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Rheumatology

  • The first symptom of Lyme disease in most people is an expanding red skin rash (called erythema migrans or an EM rash). In about a third of people, the rash looks like a bull's-eye, with a pale center area surrounded by a bright red rim. The rash is...

  • Learn what to expect during hip replacement surgery and how it can ease the pain of arthritis.

  • Psoriatic arthritis (say "sor-ee-AT-ik ar-THRY-tus") is a type of arthritis that sometimes occurs in people who have a skin problem called psoriasis. The arthritis causes joints to become swollen, tender, and painful. Psoriatic arthritis is an...

  • Learn what knee osteoarthritis is and what may cause it.

  • Covers surgery to replace the ball, but not the socket, of the hip joint. Looks at why it is done and how well it works. Discusses what to expect after surgery and living with a hip replacement.

  • Two techniques can help you manage your energy when you have myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). They are: Staying within your energy envelope. Pacing yourself. These techniques can give you better control over your symptoms so that you can be as active as possible. They may also lead to...

  • After being away from sports since his college days, Steve decided it was time to get back in shape and back into the game. Squash (an indoor racquet sport) and weight training topped his list of activities to enjoy again. And he did for a while—until arthritis turned his enjoyment into pain. First signs of pain...

  • Bev isn't letting the pain of arthritis in her hands and back keep her from doing her favorite activity—gardening. Nor does she let it keep her from doing anything else in her life. She has found ways to help reduce the pain that allow her to still enjoy the simple pleasures in life, like seeing the season's first...

  • Exercise is one of the best things you can do to help keep your muscles strong and reduce joint pain and stiffness. And it can help you reach and stay at a healthy weight. But you want to make sure that you don't hurt your joints when you exercise. Before you get started, ask your doctor what kind of activity would...

  • The pain and stiffness from arthritis may make it hard for you to do your daily tasks. For instance, if you have problems with your hands or fingers, you may find it hard to type or to open and close a door. If you have problems with your hips or knees, it may be hard to go up and down stairs or get in and out of a...

  • When you find out that you have osteoarthritis, you may be scared and worried about how it may change your life, work, and relationships. It's hard to know how fast your arthritis may progress. Your symptoms may come and go, stay the same, or get worse over time. Some days you may feel fine and be able to do the things...

  • Guides through decision to have shoulder replacement surgery. Discusses what happens in shoulder replacement and what to expect after surgery. Also covers other treatments that you might try to manage osteoarthritis. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Learn how to use heat and ice to treat pain from arthritis.

  • Sjögren's syndrome is a disease that causes dry eyes and dry mouth. It can also affect your skin, lungs, and vagina and your energy level. The following steps and treatments can be very helpful in relieving your symptoms and improving the quality of your life. Getting plenty of rest, eating well, and doing mild...

  • Learn what to expect during knee replacement surgery and how it can ease the pain of arthritis.

  • Get ideas about tools and changes to your home that can simplify your daily life.

  • Learn how activity can help reduce joint pain and how to exercise safely when you have arthritis.

  • Learn how knee arthroscopy is done and what to expect after surgery.

  • Learn the pros and cons of having a hip replacement.

  • Learn the pros and cons of having a knee replacement.

  • Hear what other people thought about as they decided whether to have hip replacement surgery.

  • Hear what other people thought about as they decided whether to have knee replacement surgery.

  • Learn about shoulder replacement surgery.

  • Get tips on how to take care of yourself at home after shoulder replacement surgery.

  • Covers symptoms of giant cell arteritis, which include vision problems and pain in the jaw. Covers how this condition is treated.

  • Learn how long it might take to start doing everyday activities again after a knee replacement.

  • Arthritis hurts. And it can make it harder to move your joints. When you don't move your joints as much, your ligaments, tendons, and muscles can shorten and get weaker. But knee shots, or injections, can help you cope with the pain and be more...

  • Complementary medicine includes many treatments you can use along with standard medical treatment. A lot of people use some form of complementary medicine to treat osteoarthritis. Some of these treatments may help you move more easily and deal with the stress and pain of arthritis. But in some cases, not much is...

  • Painful knee arthritis can keep you from being as active as you need to be. You may not walk as much. You may avoid going up and down stairs. But when you don't move that knee as much, the ligaments, tendons, and muscles around it can shorten and...

  • Learn how osteoarthritis usually begins, and listen to stories of how it can progress differently in different people.

  • Learn about different treatments for knee arthritis other than surgery.

  • Learn about the pros and cons of having knee replacement surgery.

  • Learn how cartilage is replaced by implants in knee replacement surgery.

  • Learn about recovering from knee replacement surgery, and listen to stories about different recovery experiences.

  • Learn about the different treatment options for knee arthritis, and hear stories of what others have tried.

  • Spondylosis is age-related change of the bones (vertebrae) and discs of the spine. These changes are often called degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis. These changes don't always cause symptoms. But they are a common cause of spine problems...

  • Try the following home treatment if your hands get cold easily and become pale, cool, and painful: Wear gloves to protect your hands from the cold. Wave your arms in a circular motion to force blood out into your hands. Blow warm air onto cold...

  • Discusses arthroplasty, joint replacement surgery for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Covers why it is done. Also covers how well it works and the risks.

  • Discusses arthroscopic surgery, used to treat joint pain for those with rheumatoid arthritis. Covers how well it works and the risks.

  • Discusses synovectomy, surgery done to remove inflamed joint tissue resulting from rheumatoid arthritis. Covers why it's done and what to expect after surgery, including a need for physical therapy. Also covers how well it works and risks.

  • There are several surgeries to correct joint problems in the hand caused by rheumatoid arthritis, including: Carpal tunnel release, which involves releasing or cutting a ligament in the wrist to relieve pressure on a nerve that runs through the...

  • The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) worked together to develop the 2010 Rheumatoid Arthritis Classification Criteria for rheumatoid arthritis. The goal is to identify possible...

  • Rheumatoid arthritis primarily affects the joints but can also affect the whole body, causing what are called systemic symptoms. These systemic symptoms occur especially in people who have severe disease. Problems associated with rheumatoid arthritis can develop in the: Eyes. Inflammation of the...

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are different types of arthritis. They share some similar characteristics, but each has different symptoms and requires different treatment. So an accurate diagnosis is important. Osteoarthritis is the most...

  • What is Sjögren's syndrome? Sjögren's syndrome (say "SHOH-grins") is a disease in which the immune system attacks the glands that make moisture for the body, such as tears and saliva. The damage keeps the glands from working the way they should and makes your eyes and mouth dry. The disease may also cause other...

  • When rheumatoid arthritis affects the neck joints, particularly those located at the top of the spine, complications can occur. Bones and joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis may dislocate and press on the spinal cord or on the nerve roots....

  • Covers surgery to replace ends of both bones in a damaged joint to create new joint surfaces. Includes slideshow on hip replacement. Looks at why it is done and how well it works. Discusses what to expect after surgery and living with a hip replacement.

  • Scleroderma is a rare disease in which a person's immune system begins to destroy normal, healthy tissues. (This is called an autoimmune disease.) As a result, connective tissue of the skin, lungs, and internal organs—especially the esophagus,...

  • Covers surgery to replace the ends of bones in a damaged joint. Includes slideshow on knee replacement. Looks at why surgery is done, risks, and how well it works. Discusses what to expect after surgery and living with a knee replacement.

  • What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure...

  • Details types of injuries to the fingers, hands, and wrists. Discusses possible emergency situations. Includes worksheet to help you decide when to seek care. Offers home treatment and prevention tips.

  • Covers finger, hand, and wrist problems caused by medical conditions and overuse. Offers symptom check list. Includes worksheet to help you decide when to call a doctor. Offers home treatment and prevention tips.

  • A hip problem can be hard to deal with, both for the child who has the problem and to the parent or caregiver. A child who has a hip problem may feel pain in the hip, groin, thigh, or knee. A child in pain may limp or be unable or unwilling to...

  • Hip pain can make it hard to walk, go up and down stairs, squat, or sleep on the side that hurts. A clicking or snapping feeling or sound around your hip joint (snapping hip) may bother you or cause you to worry. But if your hip is not painful, in many cases the click or snap is nothing to worry about. Home treatment...

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises can help a child who has juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) control pain and stiffness and maintain mobility. A physical therapist can help figure out how much exercise is appropriate for each child. Stretching exercises are those in which the joints are moved through...

  • Covers the causes and symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, also called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Looks at treatment with NSAIDs, physical therapy, and possibly shots of steroid medicine. Includes tips for helping your child cope with JIA.

  • The following criteria are used to distinguish lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE) from other autoimmune and rheumatic diseases. A person with 4 of these 11 conditions can be classified as having lupus. These conditions may be present all...

  • Some people who have lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE) develop complications with internal organs, such as the kidney, heart or lungs. Most people with lupus are able to continue their usual daily activities. You may find that you need to...

  • About 1 out of 3 people with lupus produce an antibody that attacks certain blood-clotting factors, which can cause the blood to clot easily. A person who has this antibody and has had blood clots is said to have antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. This can lead to mild or severe blood-clotting complications, including...

  • Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE) doesn't typically affect a woman's ability to conceive. But if you are having a lupus flare or are taking corticosteroid medicines, you may have irregular menstrual cycles, making it difficult to plan a...

  • Antibody tests are a set of blood tests that check for specific antibodies to help clarify the diagnosis of lupus. They include: Anti-dsDNA (antibodies to DNA). Antinuclear antibody (ANA) Anti-RNP. Anti-Smith (Sm). Anti-SS-A (also called Ro)....

  • A complement test uses a blood sample to detect a group of proteins that help the body attack foreign substances. When there are a lot of foreign substances in the body, such as bacteria or viruses, a low level of complement means the body is trying...

  • To date, no diet is known to cure, prevent, or relieve lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE) symptoms. But poor nutrition makes it harder for your body to battle chronic illness. To make sure that you have a healthful, balanced diet, your...

  • Discusses lupus, an autoimmune disorder. Focuses on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Covers symptoms and how it is diagnosed. Covers treatment with medicines like corticosteroids, NSAIDs, and antimalarials. Discusses the importance of good self-care.

  • A regular exercise program is an important part of anyone's lifestyle. If you have osteoarthritis, check with your health professional before beginning or continuing any exercise so that you can determine whether it is safe and effective for...

  • Capsaicin (Zostrix), available without a prescription, is a pain reliever that comes in a cream that you apply directly to your skin (topical analgesic). It has been found to relieve joint pain from osteoarthritis in some people when rubbed into the...

  • If osteoarthritis in the joints of the hands or feet is so severe that function is impossible (rare with osteoarthritis), surgery may allow some pain-free motion. In the hands, the goal is enough pain-free motion to allow the person to do basic...

  • For moderate to severe pain from osteoarthritis, try applying heat and cold to the affected joints. Experiment with these heat and cold techniques until you find what helps you most. Apply heat 2 or 3 times a day for 20 to 30 minutes, using a...

  • If you have osteoarthritis and your joints hurt when you do an activity, try other ways of doing it that do not cause pain. If you get tired when you do a task for long periods of time, break the task down into several smaller tasks, and rest between them. Avoid extended periods of standing, and try not to kneel or...

  • Covers surgery (osteotomy) to remove a wedge of bone near a damaged joint. Looks at why it is done and what to expect after surgery. Covers physical therapy. Includes info on how well it works and the risks of surgery.

  • Covers the causes and symptoms of osteoarthritis. Covers possible treatments with over-the-counter pain medicines and prescription medicines. Includes info on home treatment for joint pain, including using heat or ice, staying at a healthy weight, and exercise.

  • What is Kawasaki disease? Kawasaki disease is a rare childhood illness that affects the blood vessels. The symptoms can be severe for several days and can look scary to parents. But then most children return to normal activities. Kawasaki disease can harm the coronary arteries, which carry blood to the heart...

  • What is Raynaud's phenomenon? Raynaud's (say "ray-NOHZ") phenomenon occurs when the blood vessels in the hands and feet overreact to cold temperatures. The blood vessels are extra sensitive and become more narrow than normal, making the hands and feet feel very cold and numb for a short time. You may also hear this...

  • Paget's disease can cause complications such as: Osteoarthritis. Paget's disease can damage the bone around a joint. This can cause the cartilage in the joint to weaken and break down, which leads to arthritis. Many people feel bone or joint pain...

  • What is Paget's disease? Paget's disease is a problem of abnormal bone growth. It may affect just one bone, but it usually affects more than one. In normal bone, the bone tissue is constantly being broken down, absorbed into the body, and then rebuilt with new cells. In Paget's disease, bone tissue is broken down...

  • Doctors do not use lab tests to diagnose fibromyalgia. The results of lab tests done on people with fibromyalgia should be normal unless another condition is present. You may have lab tests to rule out other diseases or to find out whether you have...

  • Exercise is one of the most important treatments for fibromyalgia. Regular exercise will strengthen your muscles, increase blood flow to the muscles, and increase your endurance. It also may reduce the risk of tiny injuries to the muscles that may...

  • Nondrug methods of relieving pain may be helpful for people who have fibromyalgia. These can include: Applying heating pads or taking warm baths or showers. Gentle massage of painful muscles. Regular exercise to help strengthen muscles, which will...

  • Information on fibromyalgia, a syndrome that causes people to feel pain even when there is no injury. Covers symptoms and how it is diagnosed. Includes info on treatments such as medicines, exercise therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

  • If you were exposed to ticks and you get an expanding, circular rash (erythema migrans), your doctor may treat you for Lyme disease without doing a blood test. Blood tests done in the first few weeks may not show Lyme disease even when you have the illness. This is because the body's immune system responds slowly to the...

  • What is myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)? Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) (say "my-AL-jik en-seh-fuh-loh-my-uh-LY-tus") is a disease that makes you feel so ill that you can't do your normal daily activities. Sleeping problems occur along with...

  • You may find it helpful to change your schedule to take advantage of times when you have more energy and feel less tired. Keep a diary for a week or so, and record the times of day when you have energy and when you are tired. If there is a pattern to how your energy levels change during the day, try to...

  • People who have chronic health problems, such as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), often benefit from support groups. These groups can be a good source of information and tips for managing your illness and a chance to share your frustrations and problems with others who are in a similar...

  • Discusses antibody test used to detect Lyme disease. Covers two types of test (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot test). Covers why and how they are done. Includes info on what results mean.

  • Includes information on gout, a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the body. Info on symptoms, including swelling and pain that is often in the big toe. Covers how a diet high in purines can raise uric acid levels. Discusses diagnosis and treatment.

  • Misdiagnosis of Lyme disease is common. The bacteria that cause the illness are hard to detect with current lab tests. People often test positive for Lyme disease when in fact they have a different bacterial illness. People may test positive because...

  • Discusses Lyme disease, an infection spread by ticks. Includes info on deer ticks. Covers symptoms and Lyme disease tests. Covers treatment with antibiotics. Includes info on complications from not treating Lyme disease. Offers prevention tips.

  • Covers causes and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Looks at treatment with medicine, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Discusses things you can do at home to relieve your symptoms and help control the disease. Includes importance of regular checkups.

  • Covers causes and symptoms of spondyloarthropathies, a family of long-term (chronic) diseases of joints. Looks at specific symptoms of each type. Discusses treatment with mild exercise, over-the-counter medicines, and other options.

  • Inflammatory eye disease (uveitis) can develop as a complication in children who have juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Children and adults who have JIA can develop cataracts, glaucoma, corneal degeneration (band keratopathy), or vision loss. The...

  • Children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) must do regular range-of-motion exercises to prevent contractures and to maintain joint range and flexibility. If your child is 4 years old or younger, an adult will need to move the child's joints...

  • If your child has severe joint damage from juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), your child's doctors may recommend a total joint replacement. As you and the doctors work through this decision together, consider the following: Your child's age. Consider how old your child is. His or her bones may still...

  • What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure...

  • Guides you through decision to take bisphosphonate medicines for osteoporosis. Lists medicine names like alendronate (Fosamax) and risedronate (Actonel). Lists risks and benefits. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Covers symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica, which include muscle pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. Covers how this condition is treated.

  • If you have symptoms of giant cell arteritis (GCA) and your doctor believes you may have it, he or she may order a temporal artery biopsy to make sure. Giant cell arteritis can occur at various points along an artery. To test for giant cell arteritis, your doctor may have a surgeon take a sample of a blood vessel on...

  • Discusses ankylosing spondylitis, a condition that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the spine. Covers causes and symptoms. Looks at treatment with conditioning exercises, medicines, and surgery. Offers home treatment tips.

  • Assistive devices and orthotics are tools that help you hold objects, open and close things, transfer weight while shifting positions, or walk. It is important to find a balance between use and rest of a painful (arthritic) joint. When exercise is not enough to control pain, assistive devices and orthotics may help to...

  • Covers exercises that are helpful for a person with osteoarthritis. Includes aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises, and tips to motivate yourself. Includes things to avoid. Looks at why it is important to exercise and gives tips on how to exercise.

  • Most people find osteoarthritis to be a nuisance that eventually becomes significant enough to affect their daily activities. And sometimes there are more serious complications. Possible complications of osteoarthritis include: Rapid, complete breakdown of cartilage resulting in loose tissue material in the joint...

  • Lyme disease can go through several stages. It may cause different symptoms, depending on how long you have been infected and where in your body the infection has spread. Stage 1: Early localized Lyme disease (1 to 4 weeks) Early localized Lyme disease develops days to weeks after you become infected. You may have...

  • Osteotomy ("bone cutting") is a procedure in which a surgeon removes, or sometimes adds, a wedge of bone near a damaged joint. This shifts weight from an area where there is deformed or damaged bone to an area where there is more or healthier bone. In Paget's disease, bone tissue breakdown and rebuilding frequently...

  • Rheumatic fever is a bacterial infection that can cause problems with the heart's aortic and mitral valves. Rheumatic fever is caused by certain strains of streptococcal bacteria. A strep throat infection that isn't properly treated can trigger rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can damage heart muscle and heart valves...

  • What is spondylosis? Spondylosis is age-related change of the bones (vertebrae) and discs of the spine. These changes are often called degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis. These changes don't always cause symptoms. But they are a common cause of spine problems that can range from mild to severe. What causes...

  • Covers creating and following a plan to help manage symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Discusses early treatment with exercise and medicine to limit joint damage. Includes tips for coping with chronic joint pain, fatigue, and stiffness.

  • Exercise can reduce pain and improve function in people who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Also, exercise may help prevent the buildup of scar tissue, which can lead to weakness and stiffness. Exercise for arthritis takes three forms: stretching, strengthening, and conditioning. Stretching involves moving...

  • Guides through decision to have knee replacement surgery for osteoarthritis. Describes other surgeries and treatment options used to decrease osteoarthritis pain. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Guides through decision to have hip replacement surgery. Discusses what happens in hip replacement and what to expect after surgery. Offers interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Most children who have juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) will have some pain and discomfort from the disease. The pain of JIA is related to the type and severity of the disease, the child's pain threshold, and emotional and psychological factors. Pain limits a child's ability to function. With care and good...

  • What is chronic myofascial pain? Most people have muscle pain from time to time. But chronic myofascial pain is a kind of ongoing or longer-lasting pain that can affect the connective tissue (fascia) of a muscle or group of muscles. With myofascial pain, there are areas called trigger points. Trigger points are usually...

  • Gout is a form of arthritis marked by sudden attacks of painful, inflamed joints. If it is not controlled, gout can cause severe damage to joints, tendons, and other tissues. Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood. This used to be treated with a strict diet, but now there are medicines that can control it...

  • What is de Quervain's tenosynovitis? De Quervain's (say "duh-kair-VANZ") tenosynovitis, also called De Quervain's, is a problem that makes the bottom of your thumb and the side of your wrist hurt. When you have de Quervain's, the ropey fiber ( tendon) that helps move your thumb away from your fingers becomes swollen...

  • You can use paraffin wax (may be called either paraffin or wax) to apply moist heat to your hands or feet to ease the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Paraffin especially helps to reduce pain and loosen up your hand and finger joints before exercise. You should talk with your doctor before trying paraffin at...

  • Covers shoulder surgery to replace the ends of bones in a damaged joint. Includes what to expect after surgery, continued recovery, and living with a shoulder replacement. Looks at why it is done, how well it works, and the risks of surgery.

  • Hip resurfacing arthroplasty is surgery that replaces the damaged outer surfaces of the femoral head found at the top of the thighbone and, if needed, the cup-shaped socket where the thighbone meets the pelvis in the hip joint. People younger than about age 55 who have hip osteoarthritis have been difficult to help...

  • "Fibro fog" is the name commonly given to the cognitive problems that can go along with fibromyalgia syndrome. These problems with concentration and memory can lead to confusion, losing your train of thought, or forgetting or mixing up words or details. You can take steps to manage fibro fog. Try some of the...

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