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Rheumatic diseases, such as arthritis, affect tens of millions of Americans. 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 Tissue Diseases”.

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 and well-being!

To find out more, contact the Arthritis Foundation ( and/or the American College of Rheumatology (, at the websites listed below, or call Allergy A.R.T.S. at (806) 353-7000.

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