Rheumatism is an umbrella term used to describe various disorders of the joints, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissue. The study of these disorders and rheumatism treatment is called rheumatology. Primer on rheumatic diseases. Many people use the terms rheumatism and arthritis interchangeably. In reality, there are a number of different types of arthritis disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the joints), osteoarthritis (inflammation of connective tissue), psoriatic arthritis (inflammation of the skin and joints), and so on. On the other hand, rheumatism can refer to a wide variety of skin, bone, muscle, and joint disorders. While chronic pain and inflammation may be common to most of these rheumatic diseases, there are subtle differences in causes and rheumatism treatment.
Rheumatism diet is often prescribed based on the theory that toxins in the body increase inflammation and pain. Citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, grape fruit, and so on possess alkaline properties and may help to flush out toxins from the body. Similarly, whole grains and raw vegetables are rich in alkaline sources and may benefit individuals suffering from different rheumatism disorders. Certain studies on rheumatism also indicate a negative influence of smoking, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks on the inflammation in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis. People suffering from this condition often experience inflammation and pain in the joints and connective tissue. Other symptoms include fatigue, morning soreness, tenderness in the joints, and loss of appetite contributing to sudden weight loss.Left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can lead to permanent damage of the joints.
Rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever goes beyond joint pain and affects the heart, brain, and skin. The chances of contracting rheumatic fever are higher in individuals who have suffered from an attack of strep throat or scarlet fever. Bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus bacteria can result in rheumatic fever. Symptoms include persistent fevers, joint aches, cardiac problems resulting in fatigue and shortness of breath, nosebleeds and skin rashes or skin growths. Individuals may also experience jerky movements or twitching in their face, hands or feet. Rheumatic fever treatment is a long-term process. Your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medication for the joint aches and antibiotics for the fever. Since there is a risk of recurrent attack by the Streptococcus bacteria, your doctor might also advise preventive medication.
Ankylosing spondylitis. This rheumatism disorder affects the bones in the spine and pelvis region. In chronic cases, it causes the spinal bones to fuse together, causing spine bone deformity and severe back pain. The pain usually starts at the lower end of the spine and increases along the entire length of the spine. Eventually, your mobility is limited in the lower spine or you may lose complete mobility and flexibility in the rib cage area. Other symptoms include fatigue, joint aches and swelling in the hips, shoulders, knees and ankles.
Tendinitis. An inflammation in the tendons is called tendinitis. It is a common cause of concern amongst many athletes and physically active people since it affects the elbows, wrists, shoulders and heels. Many common sporting injuries like golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, pitcher’s shoulder and Achilles heel (Achilles tendinitis) are common problems due to overuse of certain postures and wear and tear of constantly used tendons. Your doctor may recommend rest and anti-inflammatory medication for the problem. In case of severe inflammation, you may have to undergo corrective surgery.
Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is an inflammation of the joints that worsens when pressure is applied to the affected area. Other symptoms include swollen joints and muscle weakness, joint pains that recur in moist conditions and limited movement.
Systemic lupus erythematosus. Commonly referred to as SLE or just Lupus this is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its own cells and tissues causing pain and inflammation. The organs at risk include the heart, lungs, various blood vessels, liver, kidney and the entire nervous system. While there is no cure for lupus, some of the symptoms can be controlled via immunosuppressant medication under medical advice.
Fibromyalgia. Another common condition that may occur along with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis is fibromyalgia. In this condition, individuals are likely to experience pain throughout their body and tenderness in the joints. Other Rheumatism symptoms include stiffness in joints and muscles, insomnia, headaches, numbness in the limbs, depression or anxiety attacks.
Rheumatism treatment depends on diagnosis and cause of inflammation or chronic pain. In the early stages, rest and medication may help control the problem. Moderate exercise and joint strengthening workouts recommended by a therapist may also address the issue satisfactorily. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.