Have you heard of rheumatism? Surely you must have heard some known comment on this problem. But what many people do not know is that rheumatism is not a disease in itself, but a set of disorders that can affect different parts of the body.
Another common mistake is to think that rheumatism only affects elderly people. Thinking about it, we created this post to explain a little about what is rheumatism, who can develop it and its treatments. Check out!
What is rheumatism?
It is the name assigned to a group of more than 200 diseases that affect bones, joints and muscles; rheumatic diseases also affect the blood, heart and kidneys. Among the main diseases are: osteoarthritis, low back pain , arthritis, back pain and rheumatic fever.
The dysfunctions that are within the group called rheumatism have a non-traumatic origin and cause chronic pain. It is common for these diseases to be associated with older people, but they can affect people of all ages.
What are the causes?
As mentioned above, rheumatism-type diseases have a non-traumatic origin, that is, they did not arise through an accident or physical trauma. Most of them originate when there is a failure in the immune system and it attacks the organism itself, or when there is wear and tear on tissues or organs, and may even be hereditary.
In the cases of diseases that affect the joints, bones and muscles, there are wear and tear and inflammation that usually occur over time. Rheumatism that affects the heart, kidneys and blood is caused by autoimmune diseases.
What diseases are characterized within this concept?
There are more than 200 dysfunctions that are within the category of rheumatism, some of which are autoimmune. Below we list the most recurring ones:
- chronic kidney disease ;
- lumbar scoliosis;
- adhesive capsulitis;
- gout ;
- fibromyalgia ;
- tendonitis ;
- ankylosing spondylitis;
- osteoporosis .
Which people are most affected?
As we mentioned above, a myth is that only older or older people are affected by the diseases of rheumatism. These illnesses are more common and more likely to develop over the years and during aging, but individuals of any age can experience dysfunctions.
Rheumatism that affects bones, muscles and joints usually develops due to the wear and tear caused by the years, and that is why it is more present in the elderly population . But athletes and people who play high-intensity sports can also be affected, regardless of age and gender.
What are the most common symptoms?
Even though the diseases characterized as rheumatism have different causes, origins, body locations and treatments, the symptoms are usually practically the same. The following are the most common:
- severe pain in the joints (joints) ;
- stiffness in inflamed joints;
- limb pain;
- difficulty in performing movements;
- lack of muscle strength;
- increased temperature in the inflamed region;
- lack of appetite;
Since most diseases are chronic, it is important to understand that symptoms only appear when the disease is active. They can appear at any time of the day, but they are more common when waking up and tend to improve according to the heat generated by movements.
What are the main types of treatments for rheumatism?
As well as the causes and symptoms, each disease characterized as rheumatism has a different treatment. For it to be developed, a diagnosis by a rheumatologist is required first . This happens after a consultation with the doctor and by performing some tests that can be ordered. Below we explain a little about some of the treatments that can be prescribed.
One of the main treatments for all diseases that include rheumatism is the use of medications . Among them may be anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone, immunosuppressants and other analgesic remedies. They are used especially to reduce inflammation and pain caused by dysfunctions.
Cases where the disease is discovered in the early stages are usually easily controlled with medication. However, in more severe disorders, it may be necessary to add more potent drugs, such as biological agents combined with other types of treatments.
Physiotherapy is a great ally for those suffering from rheumatism. As most diseases affect bones, joints and muscles, it is common for patients to have difficulty coping with pain and moving the affected limb.
With this treatment, the individual learns exercises and activities that help to improve the flexibility and mobility of the joints, making it easier to perform everyday activities. Ideally, exercises should be performed during sessions, but also throughout the day, especially in the morning.
Acupuncture is a great treatment option for those suffering from the pains of rheumatism. This is because it works to restore body energy, with a reduction in inflammation and relaxation of tense muscles. This technique can assist in decreasing medication intake and frequency of physical therapy.
Changes in food
Changing the diet is another point that can help in the treatment of diseases associated with rheumatism. For this, some steps are necessary, such as having a balanced diet , being within the ideal weight and eating foods that naturally fight inflammation. Among them are tuna, sardines, perilla seed oil and salmon, which are rich in omega 3.
Another indication is substances that have calcium and vitamin D and help to strengthen bones. For this reason, you should bet on milk and its derivatives, broccoli, soy, dark leaves and white beans.
In more advanced cases, when medication and physiotherapy are not enough, surgery may be recommended. In such cases, the treatments mentioned are carried out for at least six months; when the expected results do not appear, the most aggressive treatment is indicated. Surgery is performed by scraping the damaged bone part, or in some cases, a complete replacement of the bone or joint is done.
As they are chronic diseases, rheumatism has no cure, but currently there are treatments that help to raise the patient’s quality of life when followed correctly. It is important to remember that each diagnosis is individual, and that is why it is important that a rheumatologist be followed up by a doctor .
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