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Fibromyalgia and Rheumatic Diseases

Rheumatic diseases (rheumatism) are painful conditions that affect millions. These diseases cause inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joints or muscles. The term rheumatism is also used to describe rheumatic fever affecting heart valves. However, the medical profession uses specific terms to describe rheumatological disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, gout and systemic lupus erythematosus and so on in the medical literature.

Some rheumatic diseases like osteoarthritis are the result of "wear and tear" to the joints. Other rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, happen when the immune system goes haywire; the immune system attacks the linings of joints, causing joint pain, swelling, and destruction.

Almost any joint can be affected in rheumatic disease, but the causes are known in only a few types. Because there are more than 100 rheumatic diseases, we'll focus on some of the common types.

Treatments for Rheumatic Diseases

Treatments for rheumatic diseases include medications to improve symptoms and control disease.

Along with medications, other parts of a treatment plan include:

* Regular exercise

* Balanced diet

* Stress reduction

* Rest

Working with your rheumatologist, you can find the best treatments for your rheumatic disease.

Rheumatology research

Recently, a large body of scientific research deals with the background of autoimmune disease, the cause of many rheumatic disorders. Also, the field of osteoimmunology has emerged to further examine the interactions between the immune system, joints and bones. Epidemiological studies and medication trials are also being conducted. Scientific research on biologics and clinical trials on monoclonal antibody therapies have added a new dimension to the medical treatment of arthritic disorders.