1 any painful disorder of the joints or muscles or connective tissues
2 a chronic autoimmune disease with inflammation of the joints and marked deformities; something (possibly a virus) triggers an attack on the synovium by the immune system, which releases cytokines that stimulate an inflammatory reaction that can lead to the destruction of all components of the joint [syn: rheumatoid arthritis, atrophic arthritis]
EtymologyFirst attested 1601, from rheumatismus, "rheum", from rheumatismos, from rheumatizesthai, "to suffer from rheum (which was thought to cause pain)", from rheuma "a stream, flow," from rhein "to flow," from .
- AHD: [rmə-tĭz′əm]
Rheumatism or Rheumatic disorder is a non-specific term for medical problems affecting the heart, bones, joints, kidney, skin and lung. The study of, and therapeutic interventions in, such disorders is called rheumatology.
TerminologyThe term "rheumatism" is still used in colloquial speech and historical contexts, but is no longer frequently used in medical or technical literature; it would be fair to say that there is no longer any recognized disorder simply called "rheumatism." Some countries use the word Rheumatism to describe fibromyalgia syndrome. The traditional term covers such a range of different problems that to ascribe symptoms to "rheumatism" is not to say very much. Nevertheless, sources dealing with rheumatism tend to focus on arthritis. However, "non-articular rheumatism", also known as "regional pain syndrome" or "soft tissue rheumatism" can cause just as much discomfort and difficulty. Furthermore, arthritis and rheumatism between them cover at least 200 different conditions.
TypesThe major rheumatic disorders currently recognised include:
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Back pain
- Bursitis/ Tendinitis, Shoulder pain, wrist, biceps, leg, knee (patellar), ankle, hip, and Achilles
- Neck pain
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Rheumatic fever
- Rheumatic heart disease (a long-term complication of Rheumatic fever)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Temporal arteritis and Polymyalgia rheumatica
Although these disorders probably have little in common in terms of their epidemiology, they do share two characteristics: they cause chronic (though often intermittent) pain, and they are difficult to treat. They are also, collectively, very common.
TreatmentA vast number of traditional herbal remedies were recommended for "rheumatism". Modern medicine, both conventional and complementary, recognises that the different rheumatic disorders have different causes (and several of them have multiple causes) and require different kinds of treatment.
Nevertheless, initial therapy of the major rheumatological diseases is with analgesics, such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), members of which are ibuprofen and diclofenac. Often, stronger analgesics are required.
"Rheumatism" and weatherThere has long been said to be a link between "rheumatic" pain and the weather. There appears to be no firm evidence in favour or against, but a 1995 questionnaire given to 557 people by A. Naser and others at the Brigham and Women's Hospital's Pain Management Center concludes that "changes in barometric pressure are the main link between weather and pain. Low pressure is generally associated with cold, wet weather and an increase in pain. Clear, dry conditions signal high pressure and a decrease in pain".
MiscellanyA Trod in the west of England is a straight line or fairy path in the grass of a field with a different shade of green to the rest. People with rheumatism sought relief by walking along these tracks, though animals were thought to avoid them.
- American College of Rheumatology
- EULAR - The European League Against Rheumatism
- BBC "Your Health" website on Arthritis and Rheumatism
- e-medicine article on Non-Articular Rheumatism
- List of plant species that have been recommended as treatments for rheumatism, from Dr Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases
- Account of Rheumatism from the website of Retirement Matters Ltd of the UK
rheumatism in German: Rheuma
rheumatism in Spanish: Reumatismo
rheumatism in Esperanto: Reŭmatismo
rheumatism in Italian: Reumatismo
rheumatism in Hebrew: שיגרון
rheumatism in Kurdish: Rumatism
rheumatism in Lithuanian: Reumatas
rheumatism in Polish: Choroby reumatyczne
rheumatism in Portuguese: Reumatismo
rheumatism in Romanian: Reumatism
rheumatism in Russian: Ревматизм
rheumatism in Slovenian: Revmatizem
rheumatism in Vietnamese: Bệnh phong thấp
rheumatism in Urdu: اشعالیت
rheumatism in Chinese: 风湿
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