Rheumatic diseases are those that affect the locomotor system and include more than two hundred different diseases that, in Spain, affect one in four people over 20 years of age. Therefore, rheumatology is the medical specialty that is responsible for preventing, diagnosing and treating systemic musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. It is one of the specialties that has experienced the most advances in diagnosis and treatment in recent years.
In addition, the global impact of musculoskeletal diseases is important, it is estimated that approximately 20% of the general population suffers from some rheumatic disease. These diseases occupy one of the top ten reasons for total disability in countries of Europe and North America.
Among the more than two hundred types of rheumatic diseases stand out for being the more common the following: arthritis, psoriatic, juvenile idiopathic, rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, dermatomyositis, Behçet’s disease, systemic sclerosis, ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia or familial Mediterranean fever, among others.
Likewise, musculoskeletal diseases are those that the more they deteriorate the quality of life of people, above lung and heart diseases. Musculoskeletal diseases affect bones, muscles and joints, as well as the surrounding tissues, which can cause pain, inflammation, stiffness, limitation of movement and deformity. On the other hand, systemic autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, scleroderma, or dermatomyositis They can affect any organ in the body, such as the kidneys, lungs, skin, heart, or brain.
The prognosis of rheumatic diseases, which are highly prevalent, can vary greatly depending on the specific pathology. In any case, the prognosis tends to improve in most of them if the patient meets the rehabilitating standards constantly. This is useful for both the most serious rheumatisms as well as the milder ones, since if the minor ones are not treated in time they can become chronic and end up limiting the life of the patient.
Why is it important to consult the rheumatologist?
Many of the rheumatological diseases give poorly defined symptoms, so an experienced doctor is required to reach the diagnosis. Making the correct, timely and early diagnosis is vitally important in these conditions to avoid the aggravation of these diseases. Also, it is important indicate timely treatment and individualized for each patient.
In this way, the Valencian Society of Rheumatology (SVR) safeguards the general interests of rheumatologists and rheumatologists within Medicine as a profession, seeks the improvement of the specialty, and provides support for patients with rheumatic diseases through its relationship with patient associations, always with the aim of improving their quality of life.
Although rheumatic diseases cannot currently be prevented, some of the associated problems can be avoided. Thus, it is recommended protect joints from overexertion and repetitive movements, but it is also important control body weight, leading healthy lifestyle habits (balanced Mediterranean diet and moderate physical exercise). On the other hand, the early diagnostic is very important as it can prevent worsening of symptoms.
Treatments for rheumatic diseases
Treatment of rheumatic diseases includes a drug combination and other complementary treatments such as rest and relaxation, moderate exercise, a proper diet, therapies in the water, mild mobilization therapies, hot and cold therapy, special instruments to make the patient’s day-to-day more comfortable, splints or orthopedic devices and surgery to restore the function of a joint or relieve pain.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.