Causes and Treatment Of Rheumatism
Rheumatism is a condition some people think is only meant for the elderly ones due to the rate at which elderly people suffer from it, but before we start telling you about rheumatism, causes and treatment, you should know that there is actually no word like ‘rheumatism’ in the medical field.
What people call ‘rheumatism’ is a broad term that is used whenever people experience pains and inflammation in their muscle, connective tissues or joints.
The medical term used to house these pains and inflammation is called “Rheumatic Diseases”. This article aims at bringing you more information about rheumatism, causes and treatment.
Under rheumatic diseases we have various conditions which include:
We will now discuss each of these conditions but before then, the general symptoms for rheumatic diseases include:
Pain in one or more joints
Stiffness in the affected part
1. Rheumatoid Arthritis:
This is an autoimmune sickness, meaning it is a sickness where the body’s immune system attacks cells instead of attacking foreign organisms which it is meant to attack. This condition causes joint pains and can also attack the joints attached to your hands, toes and feet. It might also start spreading to other parts like your lips, shoulders, ankles, knees, etc. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the blood cells leading to Anemia.
What Are Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Loss of appetite
Swollen and tender joint
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage is damaged. It affects the neck, fingers, lower back, lips and feet.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Lupus is a condition that is common whenever rheumatic disease is mentioned. It is an autoimmune disease that affects organs in your body.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lupus?
Stiffness of joint
4. Sjögren’s Syndrome:
This is an autoimmune disease that attacks the cells that produce tears and saliva. That is to say it is common in the eyes and mouth, it causes dryness in the eye and mouth. It is common in women and it can also affect your joints, nerve and skin as well. Sjögren’s Syndrome may lead to dryness of the nose or throat.
What Are The Symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome?
Dry mouth( it is as a result of the glands in the mouth not being able to make enough saliva.
Dry eyes( the glands in your eyes won’t make enough tears)
Here, the skin and some other connective tissues in your body gets stiff as a result of excessive collagen production.
6. Ankylosing Spondylitis:
This is an arthritis that affects your spine, it could lead to immobility and can cause pain and stiffness in the pelvis and lower back. It may also result to pains and inflammation on the eyes. Another name for Ankylosing Spondylitis is Bechterew’s disease.
7. Infectious Arthritis:
Infectious arthritis also known as septic comes as a result of viral, fungal or bacterial infections. Most times, it occurs on one joint and it is mainly affects the hip, shoulder or knee joint.
8. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis:
This type of rheumatic disease affects children only. It causes stiffness, swollen joints and joint pains. They are usually mild but can sometimes be severe and a severe juvenile idiopathic arthritis can result to stunted growth, uneven limbs, eye inflation or anemia.
9. Polymyalgia Rheumatica:
This is an inflammatory condition which could result to stiffness or pain on the neck, hips and shoulder. It affects the shoulders and also tightens the muscles.
This type of rheumatic disease causes sleep problems as well as memory loss.
Here, there is an accumulation of uriac crystals in a joint and it is mainly on the big toe joint.
What Are The Causes Of Rheumatic Diseases?
Rheumatic diseases can be caused by various factors which include;
Stress on a joint
Gender: Rheumatic diseases can come as a result of one’s gene. Most times these diseases affect women more than it affects the male gender.
How To Diagnose Rheumatic Diseases
1. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) Test: This test looks out for the level of inflammation in the body.
2. Antibody Blood Test: Here, a doctor checks the proteins that are in your blood in order to check if you have rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Imaging Tests: This type of test helps the doctor check the progression of the disease and it can be done in two ways:
Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI)
Ultrasound: In ultrasound, pictures of the joints are seen.
4. Blood Test
5. Full Blood Count: It is also called complete blood count(CBC), it makes an evaluation on the cells that make up the blood.
6. Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide(CCP) Antibodies Test: It checks for the presence of antibodies in order to know if there is Rheumatoid Arthritis.
7. Joint Scan: In this diagnosis, a scan is done to check for damage or inflammation in the joint.
How Can I Treat Rheumatic Diseases?
Rheumatic diseases can be chronic or permanent like rheumatoid arthritis.
1. Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs(DMARDs):
These drugs help slow down the progression of rheumatic diseases and it does this by affecting the body’s immune reactions and inflammatory process.
2. Corticosteroids: They are anti-inflammatory medicines used to treat various conditions including rheumatic diseases, they are also called steriods.
3. Topical Analgesics: They are creams or sprays that are either sprayed on or applied on the skin due to pains in the muscles or joints. They serve as pain reliever.
4. Oral Analgesics: They are pain killers used to relieve pains like back pain and pains that come with arthritis.
5. Surgery: If the pains are still there even after taking different medications or treatment then you should consider having a surgery. If your joints are damaged then surgery might just be the next thing to do.
6. Physical braces and splints: These are used on those who have rheumatoid arthritis, they relief pain.
Other things you can do to treat or manage these diseases include:
Body posture: Ensure that your mattress is firm so you can sleep well
Adopt the habit of walking
When sitting, one foot should be higher than the other
Massage the affected part
Avoid standing for too long
How Do I Prevent Rheumatic Diseases?
1. In order to avoid rheumatic diseases especially lupus, avoid stress, sunlight and some medications and try as much as possible to avoid infections.
2. To prevent gout, avoid alcohol, eating foods or taking drinks that have a high level of fructose in them. Rheumatic Diseases could lead to other problems like high blood pressure, memory problems, diabetes and heat disease.
Foods to Avoid If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
Red Meat: Red meat contains saturated fat in high level and it also contains omega-6 fatty acid which can cause inflammation when taken excessively.
Fried Foods: Fried food could cause inflammation
Sugar and flour
Avoid corn, butter and cheese
Food To Eat If You Have Rheumatic Disease
Fish: Fish like salmon, sardine and tuna should be included in your meals. These fishes have omega-3 fatty acid in them and this acid can help your body fight against the inflammation that causes joint pains.
Fruits and Vegetables: The fibre in them helps reduce inflammation and they also contain antioxidants that help fight against these diseases.
Nuts and seeds
Beans: Beans such as black beans and kidney beans have anti inflammatory compounds and antioxidants in them.
How Can I Treat Rheumatic Diseases Naturally?
Exercise: You can walk instead of taking a ride and you could go swimming too.
Take enough rest
Application of Cold: This means using an ice pack on the affected part. Place it on the affected part for some minutes, remove it and then reapply again after taking some minutes break.
Application of Heat: This involves the use of heat like warm water to touch the affected area just as in the case of the cold application. You can also take a warm bath but it should not be done excessively especially if you have high blood pressure or if you’re pregnant.
Breath deeply: Breathing deeply turns off the stress receptors which are responsible for tightening the muscles thereby causing the pain to get worse.
Take tumeric: According to researchers, tumeric blocks proteins that are responsible for inflammation.
Magnet therapies: Some things like pads, bracelets and necklaces are worn but it is for people with osteoarthritis.
Rheumatic diseases cannot be cured except the infectious arthritis. Treatments for rheumatic diseases are to reduce the pain and inflammations and also to help you live comfortably. Rheumatoid arthritis is most likely to show up in people who are within the age of 30-50 and those who are within the age range of 60-65, so do not feel it only affects people who are aged or people who started menopause early.
You should also know that rheumatic diseases can be permanent in your body and in this case, it comes and goes meaning the pain reduces after you must have taken medications and then start again after some time.
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