September 2017 is the second annual Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month in the United States. The purpose is to help spread awareness of the more than 100 different types of rheumatic diseases that people suffer with everyday, rheumatoid arthritis being among the most common.
There is a general lack of understanding of the many ways these diseases can manifest themselves, and many people who are living with a rheumatic disease may not even realize it.
What is a Rheumatic Disease?
Rheumatic diseases are those that affect the bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments of the body. Joint issues are among the most common in those with a rheumatic disease, and the cause of a disease can vary. For some, wear and tear on the body over time can lead to a rheumatic disease. This is common in athletes who play high impact sports or do a lot of high intensity training.
On the other hand, some rheumatic diseases are caused by problems with the immune system and are known as autoimmune diseases. With these types of diseases, the body’s immune system inexplicably “attacks” healthy cells in the body’s joints, bones, and similar areas. Unfortunately, these types of disease can occur at any time and without warning, even in otherwise healthy adults.
Symptoms of Rheumatic Disease
Signs and symptoms of a rheumatic disease can vary greatly from one person to the next. Specific symptoms can vary based on the rheumatic disease itself. Still, some of the most common symptoms of a rheumatic disease include:
- Joint and/or muscle pain
If you’ve been experiencing some or all of these symptoms, then it’s in your best interest to consult with a rheumatologist for an evaluation. Additional testing may be needed to confirm or rule out a rheumatic disease and determine the best course for treatment. Some of the most common rheumatic diseases include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis – affects the lining of the joints
- Fibromyalgia – causes pain in muscles and joints
- Lupus – an autoimmune disease that attacks the body’s healthy cells
- Osteoarthritis – causes damage to the bone and cartilage
It is important to spread awareness of rheumatic diseases so people can better identify the symptoms and get the treatment they need. Contact the caring doctors at the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Treatment Center for an appointment to help relieve your joint pain or another autoimmune disease discomfort.