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According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are over a hundred different rheumatic diseases that cause pain and swelling. Rheumatic diseases are characterized by inflammation (signs are redness and/or heat, swelling and pain) and loss of function of one or more connecting or supporting structures of the body. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) says they especially affect joints, tendons, ligaments, bones and muscles. Common symptoms are pain, swelling and stiffness. Some rheumatic diseases can also involve internal organs.
Many people use the word "arthritis" to refer to all rheumatic diseases. However, the word literally means joint inflammation. The many different kinds of arthritis comprise just a portion of the rheumatic diseases. Some rheumatic diseases are described as connective tissue diseases because they affect the supporting framework of the body and its internal organs. Others are known as autoimmune diseases because they occur when the immune system (Read about "The Immune System"), which normally protects the body from infection and disease, harms the body's own healthy tissues.
All told, an estimated 46 million Americans are affected with some form of arthritis or rheumatic disease. The latest study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the numbers will grow, to an estimated 67 million people over the next two decades.
Below you'll find links to information about some of the most common forms of rheumatic diseases and syndromes.
Ankylosing spondylitis: see Ankylosing Spondylitis
Bursitis: see Tendinitis and Bursitis
Fibromyalgia: see Fibromyalgia
Gout: see Gout
Juvenile arthritis: see Juvenile Arthritis
Lupus: see Lupus
Lyme arthritis: see Lyme Disease
Osteoarthritis: see Osteoarthritis
Physical therapy: see Rehabilitation
Psoriatic arthritis: see Psoriasis
Reactive arthritis: see Reactive Arthritis
Reiter's syndrome: see Reactive Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis: see Rheumatoid Arthritis
Saturnine gout: see Gout
Scleroderma: see Scleroderma
Synovitis: see Synovitis
Tendinitis: see Tendinitis and Bursitis
Transient (toxic) synovitis: see Synovitis
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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