Arthritis-Like Rheumatic Diseases are very similar even in some symptoms, but we will help you to differentiate between them. In addition, Rheumatic Diseases affect about 1% of the world population and the prevalence increases with age, reaching up to 5% in women over 55 years of age. Women are more often affected than men.
In Brazil, it is estimated that about 1.5 million people are affected by the disease, mostly women of working age – between 30 and 50 years old. Specialists also warn that the number of people affected by rheumatoid arthritis is expected to increase significantly in the coming years with the aging of the population.
Rheumatology is a specialty that studies a large number of different diseases that have in common the involvement of the musculoskeletal system, that is, bones, cartilage, peri-articular structures (located close to joints, tendons, ligaments, fascia, etc. ) and/or muscles and also connective tissue diseases.
Therefore, although the term rheumatism , consecrated, is not adequate enough to name this broad group of diseases. Therefore, it is not synonymous with pain in the body as in current use. So, get to know The 7 Rheumatic Diseases Similar to Arthritis:
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What it is: Also known as osteoarthritis , it is one of the Arthritis-Like Rheumatic Diseases, but it is the most common chronic and degenerative joint disease that exists and its prevalence increases with aging. Some forms of osteoarthritis (eg, osteoarthritis of the hands) have a genetic component of predisposition. Knee osteoarthritis is closely related to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
The problem leads to joint stiffness that is worse when we are still and better when we move – patients refer to improvement when the body warms up. It is important to point out that obesity, advancing age and physical exertion with excessive load are not the cause of the disease, but they can facilitate the emergence of the problem.
Symptoms: There are people who have practically no symptoms of the problem. However, when they do manifest, pain is usually the main sign. Typically, symptoms can appear after performing physical activities , when getting up from a chair or even going up and down stairs. Other signs may include: swelling, noises and popping of the joints, as well as deformities.
Diagnosis and Treatments: To identify osteoarthritis , it is necessary for the rheumatologist to have a detailed conversation with the patient in order to analyze their history of pain and the characteristic symptoms of the problem. To collaborate in this task, imaging tests such as radiography, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging can be auxiliary to close the diagnosis.
When confirmed, the patient needs to understand that the disease has no cure, so he needs to take some measures to avoid the onset of pain. They are: maintaining the ideal weight for your height; practice physical activities regularly, preferably in the water; other activities such as stretching, pilates, weight training and cycling; use of insoles in sneakers and knee pads to ensure more comfort; investing in alternative therapies, such as acupuncture , and even massages to relieve pain; apply warm or ice packs to the area of inflammation for 20 minutes, three times a day. Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of joint disease and one of the leading causes of disability in people over 60 years of age.
- lower back
What it is: It is one of the most well-known Arthritis-Like Rheumatic Diseases and usually affects people between 30 and 60 years of age, reaching the tendons, muscles and ligaments, causing pain in various parts of the body. It is believed that the problem does not have a specific cause, but rather that people who develop it are more sensitive to pain than others.
In this disorder, discomfort can last for long periods and its manifestation can be linked to emotional factors, fatigue, sleep disorders and even headaches . Researchers believe its cause may be generic, as many cases occur in members of the same family.
Diagnosis and Treatment: There are no laboratory tests that can diagnose the problem, so the patient needs to undergo a clinical analysis. To treat fibromyalgia , the ideal is to combine the use of medication prescribed by the specialist and other physical care, such as regular physical activities , physiotherapy and anti-stress therapies.
What it is: Also known as “Disease of Kings”, this one of the Rheumatic Diseases Similar to Arthritis such as gout occurs in the body when there is an accumulation of a substance called uric acid in the bloodstream, more precisely around the joints. Gout is an inflammatory process of the joints, especially the feet, more specifically the big toe.
It can also affect the ankles and knees and is characterized by an increase in uric acid in the body. There is gout due to increased production of uric acid and also gout due to a decrease in the elimination of this acid from the body. Both cases will generate imbalance in the body.
Symptoms: The main one is swelling of the feet, accompanied by intense pain. The crisis, which can last up to 10 days, passes naturally, however, if not treated properly, it can return and the joints can be compromised over time, causing serious damage to health.
Diagnosis and Treatments: There is a test that detects the presence of sodium monorath crystals in the fluid aspirated from the joint in question. If confirmed, treatment should be started. For this, drugs that reduce the rate of uric acid in the blood will be used, in addition to ice packs on the spot, in search of relief.
- lumbar region
What it is: The problem, which affects the lumbar region of the back, can be: chronic, which usually affects older people, resulting in permanent discomfort; and acute, which is fleeting and occurs when some wrong movement is performed – or due to excessive physical effort. Hence, it is among the Arthritis-Like Rheumatic Diseases.
The causes are numerous: carrying too much weight, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, among others. Poorly performed exercises at the gym, without the supervision of a professional, can also cause low back pain . In other cases, low back pain can also be caused by inflammation, infections and osteoarthritis , or even be triggered by some intense emotional trauma.
Symptoms: When a person feels uncomfortable when staying in the same position for a long time, whether sitting or standing, low back pain may be present. Pain in the lower back may subside when the wearer seeks relaxation positions.
Diagnosis and Treatment: Generally, the use of anti-inflammatories, as well as physical therapy, can be some solutions for pain relief. Treatment can be done with physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture , anti-inflammatories, attending a therapeutic academy, among others.
- Nervous system
What it is: Considered an autoimmune disease, it is among the Rheumatic Diseases Similar to Arthritis , it is caused by an alteration in the immune system itself, which produces antibodies that attack the proteins found in the center of the cells. It is characterized by the occurrence of inflammation in various organs and tissues of the human body, being more frequent in the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs and nervous system.
Symptoms: Usually the patient suffers from frequent tiredness, low fever , loss of appetite and excessive weight loss. Other symptoms: swollen glands, joint inflammation, and red patches on the skin. As lupus is responsible for generating inflammation in blood vessels – which are spread throughout the body – the kidneys and nervous system can be affected.
Diagnosis and Treatments: Numerous tests (blood, urine and imaging) are recommended in order to confirm the diagnosis, since there is no method that alone can detect lupus .
After the doctor’s final opinion, it’s time to carry out the treatment, which may differ from case to case. Medicines can be used to control immune changes and to treat other symptoms that come with the disease, such as high blood pressure and fever .
- femur neck
What it is: To better understand, imagine a smooth surface, full of tiny holes and with minimal spacing between them. Thus, one can imagine the structure of a bone seen microscopically.
When osteoporosis sets in, this same surface starts to suffer from larger and more spaced porosities, which ends up leaving bone much more fragile and brittle, depending on the stage of the problem. With this, it is easier for fractures and pain to affect the patient, a factor that compromises their quality of life.
Symptoms: In general, osteoporosis is a silent disease, that is, it does not present symptoms at the beginning of its manifestation. In more advanced cases, some signs can be noticed, such as a decrease in stature (from 2 cm to 3 cm), fractures and frequent falls, in addition to joint pain.
Diagnosis and Treatments: Diagnosis today is made with a test called bone densitometry, which every woman over the age of 65 must have. In women with early menopause , a family history of osteoporosis , or who are considering hormone therapy for menopause , this examination should also be performed before this age. The treatment of osteoporosis will vary from person to person.
What it is: It is a disease that involves the tendons of the muscles that are located over the joints. The causes are repetitive movements or carrying weight for a long time. The disease causes severe pain, especially at night.
Symptoms: Difficulty in movement is the main sign of tendinitis , which is accompanied by pain and a lot of discomfort when carrying weight. Heat, redness or swelling in the area are also some of the symptoms of the problem.
Diagnosis and Treatments: According to the symptoms described to the doctor, as well as a physical exam, it is already possible to detect if tendinitis is present. However, some specialists can still order imaging tests to certify the condition and, with that, detect the degree to which the inflammation is.
Treatment is usually based on anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by doctors, in addition to physiotherapy sessions. In some cases, rest of the affected area, as well as immobilization, may also be necessary.