Rheumatism is a vague term given to all the diseases that cause pain or inflammation affecting the joints and nearby structures such as tendons or ligaments. These diseases have various forms: post-traumatic chronic arthritis
, acute arthritis
, arthrosis due to the degeneration
joints, crystal deposits in the joints, joint
pain ... Rheumatism can affect a person of any age. Chronic inflammatory rheumatism is the most disabling, and its evolution is frequently towards joint stiffness or deformation. Osteoarthritis
in turn, corresponds to a wear of the joint and cannot be cured by treatment.
Rheumatic symptoms vary depending on the underlying disease, and can be in the form of:
- joint pain;
- inflammation of the joints, which appear hot and swollen;
- a feeling of stiffness, especially upon waking, but that decreases during the day when moving.
The diagnosis of rheumatism is made through a standard medical examination, during which the doctor asks the patient how long he has suffered, which joints are affected, and how the pain is manifested. Depending on the location and symptoms, imaging can sometimes be achieved. It may be in the form of an X-ray
, or ultrasound. In some cases, it is also possible to perform a joint sampling to analyze the fluid in the joint and to search for the presence of bacteria or solidified crystals. Blood tests
are also frequently done.
Rheumatism treatment varies depending on the type of disease: inflammatory, infectious, degenerative ... it often consists of the use of analgesics
and painkillers such as paracetamol, anti-inflammatories, or other less common analgesics. In cases of infections caused by bacteria, antibiotics
may be used or treatment may be surgical. There are also drugs
that aim to slow the progression of chronic rheumatic diseases. Some locations of osteoarthritis
may require joint replacement with a prosthetic.
Original article published by
. Translated by Jeff