Things You Should Know About Rheumatic Diseases & Arthritis



Rheumatology is the branch of medical science that deals with our musculoskeletal system. It is the specialty subject of study which is dedicated to disorders of the joints, bones, muscles and the skin.

Rheumatological conditions cover a wide range of diseases including painful and crippling arthritis, and some critical and chronic illnesses involving internal organs that result in acute or mild dull pains or achings - some common types beings the back pain, shoulder pain, etc.

What Causes Rheumatic diseases
Rheumatic diseases are fundamentally autoimmune type diseases. Autoimmune diseases happen due to malfunction of our immunity system. Our immune system protects us from germs and bacteria; but in an autoimmune disease, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the healthy tissues.

The immune system which is designed to protect us from diseases will rather harm us if it fails to recognize the healthy parts of our body and consider them as foreign.

Although it is still unknown as to why this happens to some people only or to some members of the family while others are spared, it can be said that more or less the immunity system disorder is the main cause for the rheumatic diseases. This creates inflammation of the part or organ of the body where the immune system attacks, and if not treated properly it may cause damage to that organ. Autoimmune can affect any organ of the body.

Rheumatoid Arthritis - the most feared of them all
Out of more than 100 types of arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA is one of the most common types. RA affects women more than men, with chilling statistics of the premature mortality rate of approximately 50% and a decrease in life expectancy by around 3 years. While RA can affect any age group, studies reveal that in the United States, nearly 1.3 million of the adult population, within 40 - 60 years, have RA. Studies further show that 66% of the employed patients with RA is likely to face a reduction in job tenure.

Proper disease management can only improve the situation and quality of life for the patients.

With RA being an autoimmune disease, the body’s immune system attacks the joints. This causes the tissues around the joints swell and become inflamed, making the joints painful, warm and stiff.

Any joint can be affected by RA but usually joints in the hands and feet which are comparatively smaller, affected first and gradually over time, other parts get affected making the condition worse.

Signs and symptoms:
RA symptoms can be different in different people but some of the common symptoms include:

  • Joint pain, swelling, stiffness or tenderness that may last for nearly two months.
  • Morning stiffness of the affected joint
  • Symptoms in more joints
  • Tired feeling
  • Fever and weight loss

The intensity of RA symptoms may vary from mild to severe. The small joints are generally affected first and then come the bigger joints. The smaller joints include:

  • Fingers
  • Wrists
  • Feet
  • Toes

Rheumatic diseases

The bigger joints include:

  • Elbows
  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Jaw
  • Knee
  • Ankles

Apart from the joints, the immune system can attack any part of the body. The below table gives a comparative study of the probable problems from the different parts if affected.

Body parts Problems
Heart Risk of heart disease
Lungs Risk of inflammation and scarring of lung Tissues.
Eyes Various eye problems like dryness, pain, Redness, vision impairment, and inflammation of different parts.
Mouth Dryness, pain, infection, and tooth loss.
Skin Risk of inflammation and scarring of lung Tissues.
Eyes Various eye problems like dryness, pain,Redness, vision impairment, and inflammation Of different parts.
Mouth Dryness, pain, infection, and tooth loss.
Skin lumps under the skin, raw patches of skin
Blood Decrease in red blood cells.
Nervous system Numbness, weakness of arms and legs.

Since research is yet on to find a cure for RA, the primary goal of its treatment therapy is to reduce the occurrence of disease activity or remission, which in turn improve quality of life, prevention of spreading of the disease to affect new joints, and reduction of pain and inflammation.

ASP Cares Supports People Living with Rheumatic disease
Rheumatic disease treatment requires an integrated, multidisciplinary team. Adding a pharmacist to the team helps in improving patient condition and education. From free nationwide delivery and local pickup options to expert advice and medication management, or even help to locate alternative funding, we are here to guide in every step of the way. Our Pharmaceutical care involves patient relationships; obtaining medication history information; preventing, identifying, and resolving medication-related problems; dispensing medications; educating and counseling patients and healthcare providers; monitoring patient and medication effects; and ensuring continuity of care.

We at ASP Cares understand how stressful and painful it is when you suffer from Rheumatic disease. We provide patient-centered, high touch, personalized pharmacy services for our patients.

If you, or someone you care for is living with Rheumatic diseases, we can help. Click here for more information.

ASP Cares. Big enough to serve. Small enough to care.

This content does not represent medical and or legal advice. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified medical provider.

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