Rheumatology is a subdivision of internal medicine that specializes in treating rheumatic diseases. According to a 2013 report, approximately 7 million people in the US are affected by these diseases. Usually, they develop between early adulthood and middle age. However, children are also affected by rheumatic diseases. In most cases, the treatments focus on reducing the severity of symptoms and slowing down the progress of the disease. In this article, we will look at RA, lupus, scleroderma, and gout.
What Are Rheumatic Diseases?
Most rheumatic diseases are often caused by autoimmunity, and they are inflammatory. This means that the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues of the body.
Usually, rheumatology diseases affect the following parts:
- Ligaments and tendons
However, you must keep in mind that although rheumatologists treat osteoarthritis, it is not a rheumatic disease. This is because it is caused due to the natural wearing of cartilage and bones in a joint.
What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Rheumatic Diseases?
- Aches and pain in the joint, but not always.
- Swelling in the affected joint as well as in other parts of the body.
- Fatigue and tiredness.
- Limited range of motion due to joint stiffness.
- Weight loss
- Feeling unwell
What Are Some Of The Rheumatic Diseases?
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): RA is caused due to autoimmunity; the immune system attacks the synovium in joints. Because of its autoimmune nature, it can attack multiple joints simultaneously. The most common targets are hands, wrists, and knees.
Lupus: Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation throughout the body. It can affect organs and tissues like joints, skin, blood, heart, kidneys, brain, eyes, hair, lungs, and liver. If the inflammation is not taken care of or treated on time, it can damage tissues, organs, and joints.
Scleroderma: Scleroderma is a condition where the skin and other connective tissues in the body harden. This happens when too much collagen is produced and gets accumulated in the body; collagen is the protein that forms the structural framework of the skin. Furthermore, in some people, scleroderma only affects the skin, while in others, it can affect internal organs, blood vessels, and the digestive system. The latter type is called systemic scleroderma because it affects different organ systems.
Gout: Gout is a type of rheumatic disease that develops due to the build-up of uric acid which deposits as urate crystals in the joints. The crystals can form in the joints as well as in the skin in advanced cases.
We hope that the details shared above clarified your doubts about some of the popular forms of rheumatic diseases.