Rheumatic diseases, such as arthritis, affect
tens of millions of Americans. In fact, almost 43 million have
some form of arthritis. By 2020, that figure may reach as high
as 60 million sufferers.
People with arthritis know what it is like
to struggle with simple daily activities. The good news is that
there are ways to ease pain and reduce stiffness.
Rheumatic diseases include a variety of conditions.
All, however, share a common feature in that they involve joints
and surrounding tissues, such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
Upon occasion, the diseases might also involve seemingly unrelated
organs as well, such as eyes, skin, and glands.
These diseases usually are divided into two
groups. If a disease primarily involves joints, it is grouped
under “Arthritis.” If it mainly
involves other areas of the body, it is listed under “Connective
Some of the many forms of arthritis and related
conditions – any of which can strike at any time – include
osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, osteoporosis,
and gout, to name only some of the more prevalent forms.
Warning signs include pain, swelling, stiffness
or problems moving joints over an extended period of time. Sometimes
fever and other symptoms also are involved. If you experience
any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, contact your physician
immediately. He or she may refer you to a rheumatologist for
further help. The sooner that therapy can begin, the better.
With increased awareness, early diagnosis and
a comprehensive treatment program, you can meet and overcome
the every day challenges and take back control of your health
To find out more, contact the Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) and/or the American College of Rheumatology (www.rheumatology.org), at the websites
listed below, or call Allergy A.R.T.S. at (806) 353-7000.