What are Rheumatic Diseases?

18th August 2020

When you hear the word “rheumatism,” you may think of the aches and pains associated with arthritis. However, rheumatic diseases are much more than this.

Rheumatic diseases are inflammatory and often autoimmune conditions that affects all systems and organs of the body. That means that your immune system, which is your inborn defense system erroneously attacks healthy tissues and organs.

Rheumatic diseases tend to affect the following parts of the musculoskeletal system: joints, muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments. You may see rheumatic diseases lumped under the general term “arthritis.” Though rheumatic diseases do encompass some forms of arthritis, they also include many other conditions such as lupus.

What are some of the common symptoms?

Some of the most common symptoms of rheumatology diseases include:

  • Aches and pains in the joints
  • Swelling, which can be in and around your joints, or in other parts of the body
  • Stiffness or limited range of motion
  • Feelings of tiredness or fatigue
  • Malaise or general feelings of being unwell
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Skin rash in sun exposed areas
  • Red-spotted rash

Each type of rheumatic disease can affect different parts of your body and have unique symptoms. The autoimmune diseases not only have joint involvement but can affect many systems of the body.

How are these diseases different in children compared to adults?

Many rheumatic diseases are often more aggressive among children compared to adults. Furthermore, children often are not able to explain accurately their symptoms as adults do. This contributes to delayed diagnosis that may result in chronic pain, disability and even death.

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