Rheumatism – What it is, Cause, Symptoms and Treatments!

Rheumatism – What it is, Cause, Symptoms and Treatment of this common disease that we all should know. Furthermore, the term “ Rheumatism ” is no longer commonly found in current medical literature, as this term can refer to more than 200 different diseases, which affect the joints, muscles and skeleton, comprise arthritis, neuritis, myalgia and similar processes.

What it is: Rheumatism  is  an old medical term, which has been out of medical dictionaries for many decades, but which is still widely used by the lay population. Rheumatism  is usually used in cases of diseases of the  muscular and osteoarticular systems of non-traumatic origin, which, in practice, ends up encompassing hundreds of diseases  of different origins.

Despite being a broad term, it is very common to hear the word Rheumatism  being used more specifically, as if it were synonymous with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The term Rheumatism  is also widely used when the patient has arthritis (inflammation of a joint). It is good to remember that there are a huge number of diseases that can cause arthritis, from infections to diseases  of immunological origin.

Although there are hundreds of diseases  whose symptoms can be labeled as Rheumatism , in most cases, when someone says they are rheumatic, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis is usually the real reason.

It is also relatively common to hear the expression “ Rheumatism  in the blood” as a way of describing  rheumatic fever , a completely different disease  that usually affects children with untreated bacterial tonsillitis. Rheumatism  in the blood is also not a medical expression, not being used in any scientific environment.

Currently, the word Rheumatism  has been replaced by the term “  rheumatological diseases ”. It is no longer said that the patient has Rheumatism , but rather that he has a rheumatologic disease. But, more important than saying that the patient has a rheumatological disease  is identifying which one is the cause, since the origin, symptoms and treatments of each are usually completely different. The area of ​​medicine that studies rheumatological diseases  is Rheumatology, and the specialist physician is the rheumatologist.

Although Rheumatism  is an obsolete term, the majority of the population still uses it, and in Internet search engines such as Google, the word “ Rheumatism ” is still much more searched than the term “  rheumatological disease ”. Therefore, as this text is aimed at the lay population, and so that people can find the information they are looking for more easily, I will continue to use the word Rheumatism , despite having already made it clear that the correct term is rheumatologic disease ( or arthritis, when the clinical picture is limited to joint inflammation).

The myth that  rheumatism  is a “thing” for the elderly may be linked to one of the  most frequent rheumatic diseases , osteoarthritis, or osteoarthritis. It is a loss of cartilage, which is the tissue of the joint. And it is normal for this loss to come with age, which can lead to Rheumatism . After age 50, almost everyone has osteoarthritis.

Types:  There are between 100/150 varieties of rheumatic disease and the term Rheumatism  is a lay term describing pain and stiffness in joints and not specifically rheumatic diseases . For example, most traditional descriptions of Rheumatism  point to joint afflictions and pain  as the person ages. Many of these cases were actually osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is not included in the inflammatory joint diseases called rheumatic diseases. However, when describing the diseases  of Rheumatism , inflammatory and non-inflammatory forms can be included.

Inflammatory and Non-Inflammatory Diseases: Rheumatism or  rheumatic diseases  have two forms:

  • Non-inflammatory diseases, including osteoarthritis.
  • Inflammatory diseases affecting joints, muscles and bones. These are classified as articular or non-articular. A joint or affecting joint which usually includes rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, spondylitis, among others. Non-articular, or those that affect soft tissue, muscles, and lead to pain syndromes .

For this reason, we cannot say that Rheumatism  has no cure, since its term encompasses several diseases , some that have no cure and others that the cure can be total.

Causes:  Science has not yet discovered what is the cause of Rheumatism . It has already been investigated whether the disease is  related to infections by viruses, fungi and bacteria, but to date no causative agent has been identified by the researchers. Numerous studies are taking place simultaneously around the world to try to find the cause of Rheumatism , but for now what is known is that  Rheumatism  may have a strong genetic component.

Scientists have already managed to isolate some genes that increase the risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis, and preliminary research points to a link between certain environmental factors and the onset of the inflammatory response. Thus, people who have close family members who are left with rheumatism  may be at a high risk of developing the condition.

Other possible risk factors for rheumatism  include wear and tear on the joints caused by excessive repetitive movements (such as those performed in certain sports), smoking, and the presence of certain bacteria in the gut .

Symptoms:  Although rheumatism  can last a lifetime, symptoms are intermittent, meaning they come and go and can progress over time. When symptoms of Rheumatism  appear, the disease  is said to be active, and in this period the patient may exhibit some of The 7 Symptoms of Rheumatism That Many Ignore :

  • Pain and swelling in the joints (feet, hands and knees).
  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Stiffness in the inflamed area.
  • Fever.
  • Rheumatoid nodules.
  • Elevated temperature in the affected region.

Even at the onset of  rheumatism  there may be deformation of the joints, which may or may not be accompanied by all of the above symptoms.

Tips to Prevent:  In cases of hereditary Rheumatism  there is not much to do. The person will likely develop some complication at some point in life. A medical follow-up and monitoring of the organism is indicated so that the damages are minor and that the disorders are mitigated.

Maintaining body hygiene helps in preventing infectious-type Rheumatism  , for example. A good diet is indicated for the prevention not only of this but also of several other diseases , since a  healthy body is a  more protected body . Intense work, repetitive movements, or overexertion can eventually lead a person to develop degenerative type Rheumatism  . So pay attention to your body  and the movements you perform.

Stress ,  anxiety and depression  contribute to these cases of Rheumatism . Seek medical help whenever you notice worsening. Obesity helps a lot in the emergence of these complications, as does a sedentary lifestyle. Get into the habit of physical activity and maintain a  balanced diet .

Treatments: Even though it is not possible to say that Rheumatism has a cure, it is important to know that treatment involves a combination of medicines and supplements, strengthening exercises  , rest, joint protection, family support and dietary changes . So, check out  How to Treat Rheumatism now:

Medicines to Treat Rheumatism: Currently, two types of medicines are used to treat rheumatism :

  • Fast-Acting Medications: Also known as first-line medications (such as Aspirin and Cortisone), they are used to reduce pain  and reduce inflammation;
  • Disease Activity Modifying Drugs (DMARDs): They take a little longer to take effect, but they promote a remission of Rheumatism and prevent further damage to the joints.

Physiotherapy:  In addition to drug treatment, the doctor may suggest physiotherapy sessions so that the person with Rheumatism learns to do exercises  to improve the flexibility of ligaments and joints possibly compromised by Rheumatism. The physical therapist can also teach different movements to facilitate everyday tasks, such as picking up an object or getting dressed.

Physical Activity:  Exercising regularly through light or moderate activity is a great way to strengthen muscles and increase range of motion. Water aerobics, walking and Tai chi chuan are activities that can help in the treatment of Rheumatism .

Food:  Certain foods can be used both for the treatment of Rheumatism and for the prevention of the disease , since it cannot be said that Rheumatism has a cure. The diet  for Rheumatism should be rich in  anti-inflammatory foods ( fruits , vegetables and whole grains) and very low in substances known to be inflammatory, such as sugar and fried foods.

An individual eating plan will need to be prescribed by your doctor or nutritionist, but in general your diet  should consist largely of vegetables. About 65-70% of your daily menu  should consist of fruits and vegetables.

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