Most of us will experience some aches and pains in our lifetime. However, pain in the joints, muscles, or bones that is severe or persists for more than a few days could be a rheumatic disease and may need the attention of a rheumatologist. The field of rheumatology encompasses musculoskeletal and auto-immune diseases, including accurate diagnosis and proper treatment of joint pain and inflammation.
While many people believe that arthritis is a stand-alone disease, it is actually a term used to describe more than 100 different rheumatic diseases. The general term “arthritis” can be as elusive as saying “rash” or “stomach trouble” when describing other medical conditions. The key to successful treatment and improvement for pain relating to rheumatic disease is a precise diagnosis allowing for specific treatment to be employed. Rheumatologists are professionally trained to make those specific diagnoses and provide customized treatment to the patient.
The term ankylosis stands for loss of mobility of the spine, whereas spondylitis means inflammation of the spine. Therefore, ankylosing spondylitis is a condition where chronic inflammation of the spine and sacroiliac joint, results in complete fusion of the vertebrae leading to pain and stiffness in the spine. Sacroiliac joints are present in the lower back where the sacrum part of the vertebrae joins the iliac bones.
Gout is a very common, painful form of arthritis which causes swelling, redness and stiffness of the joints. Gout is caused by increased levels of uric acid in the tissues and blood from abnormal metabolism. Eating certain foods rich in purines such as liver and dried beans can elevate the body’s level of uric acid. These Increased levels of uric acid can also cause kidney stones.
Lichen planus is a skin disease characterized by flat-topped purple or reddish-purple lesions that mainly affects the skin, but can also affect the mouth, genitals, scalp and nails. The most commonly affected sites are the inner wrists, forearms, and ankles. It occurs in both men and women of all races, but the condition occurs most often in middle-aged adults.
Bone is a growing tissue composed mainly of calcium and proteins. Constant reformation of bone takes place as calcium is absorbed by your body. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the calcium from the bone is not replaced when it is removed, forming “porous bones” which cause the bones to become brittle and weak.
Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes hardening of the skin. It is not contagious. Scleroderma can occur in both adults and children but is more often seen in females in the age group of 25 to 50 years. The exact cause of scleroderma is not known. An abnormal immune response of the body against its own tissue is known to cause scleroderma.
SLE is a chronic auto-immune disorder affecting mainly joints, kidneys and skin. It is seen more often in young adult population and is more likely to occur in women than men. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus occurs when the body identifies its own body tissue as non-self by mistake and starts making autoantibodies against it.
Botox for Raynaud’s Phenomenon
Inflammation of the joints is referred to as arthritis. The inflammation arises when the smooth covering (cartilage) at the end surfaces of the bones wears away. In some cases, the inflammation is caused when the lining of the joint becomes inflamed as part of an underlying systemic disease. These conditions are referred to as inflammatory arthritis.
Mixed Connective Tissue Disease