1. What is rheumatism?
  2. Prognosis of rheumatism
  3. Symptoms of rheumatism
  4. Medical tests for rheumatism
  5. What causes rheumatism?
  6. Can rheumatism be prevented?
  7. Treatment for rheumatism
  8. What specialist treats rheumatism?

What is rheumatism?

Before starting to define this problem, it should be noted that, as such, the concept of rheumatism does not exist, as it does not appear in medical books. In fact, we speak of rheumatism or even rheumatism to refer to the set of discomforts or pains related to the locomotor system.

Thus, we speak of rheumatism when a person suffers from some type of disorder that affects the locomotor system. The locomotor system can register up to more than a hundred different diseases. Rheumatology is the specialty in charge of studying diseases affecting the locomotor system, as well as systemic autoimmune diseases.

The most common rheumatic diseases are arthritis, osteoarthritis, low back pain, osteoporosis and soft tissue rheumatism.

  • Arthritis: inflammation of the joints, which swell, causing pain and loss of mobility. The best known are rheumatoid arthritis, gout…
  • Arthrosis: there is damage to the cartilage, which progressively degenerates. Mobility is gradually lost.
  • Lumbar pain: of unknown origin, although sometimes it is caused by a herniated disc.
  • Osteoporosis: due to the lack of hardness or resistance in the bones, bone fractures appear.
  • Soft tissue rheumatism: tendon diseases, bursitis, myopathies and muscular myostitis…

Prognosis of rheumatism

Diseases of the locomotor system form a complex and diverse set of pathologies. Rheumatic diseases are highly prevalent, affecting an estimated one in five people, who will suffer some form of physical discomfort. The prognosis of the main rheumatic diseases is as follows:

  • Arthritis: it evolves in three possible ways. On the one hand, there is acute arthritis, which appears in a single flare-up, which may last for days or months. After the flare-up, the disease subsides. Cyclic arthritis is the most common, involving up to seven out of ten cases, with alternating healthy periods and flare-ups.
  • Progressive arthritis: the disease progresses progressively, does not remit and deterioration is continuous.
  • Arthrosis: progressively, arthrosis will increasingly affect the locomotor system.
  • Low back pain: this is a continuous discomfort that affects about 70% of the population.
  • Osteoporosis: if left untreated, it can make a person unable to walk and lead a normal life.

Symptoms of rheumatism

The symptomatology of rheumatism is fairly well controlled. The most common symptom is joint pain and swelling. The main symptoms are:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness and difficulty in moving
  • Redness and increase of the temperature of the affected area.
  • Appearance of nodules on the joints
  • Feeling of exhaustion or tiredness
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Irritability
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Early detection is essential, as a diagnosis of rheumatic diseases before the disease reaches the bone can prevent its spread.

Medical tests for rheumatism

Diagnosis of rheumatism does not require a lot of fuss or complex tests. In fact, a physical examination, blood test and radiological examination should be sufficient.

What are the causes of rheumatism?

The causes of rheumatism are unknown, although it is known that in some cases this disease is acquired by genetic antecedents.

However, others may be environmental factors, such as cold, emotional traumas, accidents, infections…

Can rheumatism be prevented?

Rheumatism or rheumatic diseases can cause tension in the muscles, deform the spine and even inflame internal organs. There are several ways to try to avoid rheumatic diseases:

  • Walk at least a quarter of an hour a day, but avoid stressful physical activities.
  • Avoid cold.
  • Avoid excessive use of force with the hands.
  • Sit upright.
  • Sleep between eight and ten hours a day, together with a half-hour nap.
  • Avoid being overweight.
  • Eat a proper diet.
  • Foods that fight rheumatism: foods with quercetin such as onions, cherries, tea, blueberries or citrus fruits. Foods with vitamin D, such as egg yolk, liver and fish.
  • Avoid dairy products, excess sugar and salt and advanced glycosylates.

Treatment for rheumatism

Today there is no treatment or definitive cure for diseases of the locomotor system. The intention of the treatment is to stop the progression of the disease. Depending on the condition causing the rheumatism (inflammation, degenerative…) the treatment is divided into three parts.

  1. Pain relief: by means of analgesics. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Application of cold to combat pain.
  2. Reduction of inflammation: the application of corticoids – in spite of their side effects – can alleviate inflammation.
  3. Reducing damage: through physical therapy and exercise, mobility is preserved. Therefore, physiotherapy exercises are important to maintain the mobility of the locomotor apparatus.

Diet is important in combating rheumatism, as it is necessary to nourish and cleanse the blood. A diet with a high sodium content should be followed, as well as products rich in Omega 3.

  • Recommended foods: citrus fruits, vegetables, vegetables, whole grains, fruit juice, onion, oily fish.
  • Foods to avoid: sweets, alcoholic beverages, saturated fats, refined flour, red meat, potatoes, peppers.

Which specialist treats rheumatism?

Because of his training and experience, the rheumatologist is the specialist best prepared to deal with rheumatic diseases of the locomotor system. A distinction should be made between the traumatologist and the rheumatologist, the former being more oriented to the treatment of serious injuries and surgeries, while the rheumatologist is in charge of the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the locomotor system.