If you find yourself:
- experiencing joint pain/stiffness
- muscle and tendon pain
- noticing swelling and redness on certain areas of your skin
you might be on a collision course with rheumatism. It is not my goal to alarm you and bring more stress into your life; I am just here to help you better understand your body and prepare it (and yourself) to fight back in case you are in the risk of developing this condition.
This is a very serious disease and should never be taken lightly. It affects children, teenagers, adults and senior citizens. If it is not diagnosed and treated in time, it can lead to severe disability, heart and valve disease, limb deformation etc.
These diseases are, by no means, rare. According to the recent research, more than 46 million Americans suffer from some sort of rheumatic condition.
This comes as a no surprise since there are over 100 types of different rheumatic diseases. Some of the most common ones are:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – one of the most common type of arthritis, affecting more than 1.3 million adults in the US alone. Rheumatoid arthritis is basically an inflammatory disease, affecting various structures of the joints, causing pain, stiffness, lack of mobility and swelling.
- Osteoarthritis – is the most common type of arthritis, affecting over 27 million US adults. Both cartilage and bones in the joints are affected by this disease and they begin to deteriorate, causing joint pain and stiffness.
- Gout – gout is a disease where the needle-like crystals of uric acid becomes deposited within the joints, causing pain, inflammation, swelling and reduced mobility.
- Fibromyalgia – this disease affects the soft tissue surrounding the joints (muscles and tendons), causing them to become stiff and limit the mobility of the joints. It affects over 5 million adults in the US.
- Polymyositis – a disease affecting the muscles through the body, causing weakness and inflammation.
There are a lot of other disease, as I`ve stated before, but we simply don`t have the time to go through the entire list.
Researchers believe that the causes of rheumatism can be found in both hereditary and environmental factors. Some, unfortunate, people may be born with a genetic predisposition for this disease, which is why it is important to study your family tree and learn a bit more about your genes. If it runs in your family, chances are you are going to get it, so make sure you work on its prevention (we will talk a bit more about it later on).
Other causes are:
- Viruses, bacterial or fungal infections
- Excess weight
- Repetitive motion
- Kidney problems
- Gender is also a factor in some diseases
Most Common Symptoms
We briefly touched on the symptoms at the beginning of the article and now we are going to expand the list.
So, the most common cause is pain in the joints, followed by stiffness and swelling. You might also notice a localized increase in temperature, when you run your hand over the infected joints.
When the disease affects the joints of the hip and knee, sufferers might experience lack of stability and balance problems, along with the pain in the affected joints when walking.
As the disease progresses, more severe symptoms may present themselves in the form of:
- Heart and cardiovascular damage
- Walking Disability and
- Deformation in the joints of the limbs
Rheumatic Fever – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Fever is and inflammatory disease as a result of a an inadequately treated strep throat. It is most common among children age 5-15 and it can lead to serious heart damage and even heart failure.
The symptoms are fairly common, which is why you shouldn`t rely on online questionnaires and try to make some sort of self-diagnosis. We are here just to provide you with some general symptoms which may raise the red flag and cause you to pay a visit to your doctor.
So the most common symptoms are:
- Migrating pain (from one joint to the other)
- Increased temperature
- Small nodes under the skin
- Fatigue and shortness of breath
- Occasional rapid heart pounding etc.
As for the treatment, I really hate recommending drugs online since I am not familiar with your specific conditions. You should never take any medication without prior consultation with your doctor so I think it is best that we leave it at that.
If you read some of my previous articles, you will notice I put a lot of emphasis on prevention and I think it is just common sense; would you rather deal with the damage already done to your joints and muscles or prevent the damage from even occurring?
The best way to fight any type of rheumatic disease is to diagnose it early. Which is why I would recommend regular checkups in your local clinic.
In addition to regular checkups, you should:
- Engage in some moderate physical activity of a regular, daily basis
- Walk at least 30 minutes each day
- Pay closer attention to your nutrition – eat more veggies and fruit
- Try to cut back on fat and sugar
- Reduce stress
- Rest more
If you`ve read the previous paragraph you noticed the importance of exercise and movement when it comes to the prevention of rheumatism, well the same goes for its treatment.
Though, you need to pay attention to the rest and exercise periods, since people suffering from rheumatism will feel tired faster. When you feel fatigued, you need to take a break and get some rest, but make sure that break doesn`t last for too long since long periods of inactivity can make your joints stiffer and more painful.
Basically, you need to devise a three-fold plan for battling this disease. You need
- Stretching and
Make sure you work on all three of these areas and you will notice an improvement.