Are you suffering from joint pain? Do you constantly feel as if your joints are stiff or swollen? Many of these symptoms may be attributed to rheumatic diseases that cause inflammation in supporting and connecting structures of the body. There are many different kinds of rheumatic diseases, so working with a rheumatologist will help aid in diagnosing your particular disorder. Keep reading to learn about common rheumatic diseases below.
The Difference Between Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases
While many people often believe that arthritis and rheumatic diseases are the same thing, surprisingly, they are not always synonymous. Arthritis is the general term for disorders that cause joint pain, while rheumatic diseases usually deal with more than just joints. Along with joints, most rheumatic diseases affect tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles, and some internal organs.
Most people who have arthritis have pain in their joints—and not in just one specific location. Beyond pain, bones (and joints) may be hard to move, red at the joint site, or warm to the touch.
A-Z Rheumatic Diseases
Arthritis and rheumatic diseases come in all shapes, sizes, and severity. While there are over 100 known disorders, we’ve come up with a list of the more common conditions.
Ankylosing Spondylitis: Arthritis that affects the spine, causing pain in the pelvis and back.
Arthritis: A symptom of rheumatic diseases which cause joint inflammation.
Autoimmune Diseases: Diseases that affect immune cells and makes them attack your body.
Autoinflammatory Diseases: A disease that affects immune cells. Similar to an autoimmune disease, but autoinflammatory causes rashes, swelling, fevers, and more.
Behçet’s Disease: A chronic disease that causes mouth or genital sores and inflammation in the eye.
Bursitis: A disease that causes swelling and pain around the bursae or sack surrounding joints which contains fluid to help friction between the joint and movement.
Giant Cell Arteritis: Diseases that affects arteries in the scalp and neck. These arteries may become painful, hot, red, and swollen.
Gout: A type of arthritis that affects the joints, causing a painful buildup of uric acid.
Juvenile Arthritis: Arthritis that affects children and causes inflammation in joints.
Lupus: A disease that affects healthy cells and tissues when the body’s defense system attacks these areas rather than viruses and bacteria.
Osteoarthritis: Arthritis that affects the tissue on the ends of bones and causes loss of motion, swelling, and pain.
Osteoporosis: A disease that decreases bone density and mass, causing bones to become fragile and easily breakable.
Polymyalgia Rheumatica: A condition that causes severe muscle stiffness in the tendons, muscles, ligaments, and tissues around your shoulders, hips, neck, and back.
Psoriatic Arthritis: Arthritis that affects people with psoriasis, which is a buildup of skin cells that form itchy, dry, and scaly patches.
Reactive Arthritis: Joint pain caused by a reaction to an infection.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: A disease that affects many joints, resulting in stiffness, swelling, and pain.
Scleroderma: A group of diseases which cause patches of tightened, hard skin.
Shoulder Problems: Occurs after developing a disease in the shoulder region.
Sjögren’s Syndrome: A disease that affects glands causing a dry mouth and eyes.
Tendinitis: A condition where joint pain and swelling occurs and is caused by repeated injury to the tendons that connect your joints.
Living with a Rheumatic Disease
Having to deal with chronic pain can quickly decrease a person's quality of life. To live a happy, healthy life, you’ll want to follow a few steps to keep your pain level down. Here are some quick tips to aid in living with arthritis or a rheumatic disorder:
- Continue to exercise, as gentle movement reduces pain and stiffness in joints. We suggest discussing exercise plans with your rheumatologist, as they will be able to identify the right strategy to fit your particular diagnosis.
- Consider losing weight, as the more mass you have, the more stress your joints experience. Speak with your provider about weight management plans.
- Consider changing your diet if you have certain rheumatic diseases.
- Specific therapies may reduce swelling and pain. These may include intermittent hot and cold elements on the joint site or relaxation therapy to relax muscles and ease stress.
- If you need added support, discuss with your doctor about using splints, braces, or assistive devices like a cane or inserts for your shoe. Some of these devices may also assist with opening jars, closing zippers, and more.
Treating Rheumatic Diseases at Voyage Healthcare
Our rheumatology department is ready to consult, diagnose, and address whatever rheumatic disease you may have. Schedule an appointment with our rheumatologist and get back to living life without stiff, sore joints.