Rheumatic diseases are known to be defined in many ways - as inflammatory, degenerative, chronic, autoimmune, systemic. Inflammation of the joints and connective tissue is often accompanied by various other diseases - of the thyroid gland, vitiligo, colitis and gastritis, autoimmune liver disease, anemias. In addition, some rheumatic diseases provoke the development of atherosclerosis and depression
“Rheumatic disease is often accompanied by a whole “suite” of concomitant diseases. Physical pain is an almost constant companion of people with rheumatic diseases. In addition to becoming the most serious problem for these people, over time the pain itself becomes a disease accompanying rheumatic diseases.
This “bouquet” of diseases creates numerous he alth, psychological, social and economic problems for people with rheumatic diseases. The presence of social barriers, in turn, causes disability, loss of jobs, deterioration of the quality of life, sometimes isolation and self-isolation", explained the rheumatologist Prof. Dr. Zlatimir Kolarov, head of the department "Systemic diseases of the connective tissue" in the hospital "St. Iv. Rilski" in the capital.
Prof. Kolarov, what is rheumatism?
- Pneumatism is a fashionable term used for inflammation of the tendons, muscles and surrounding tissues. This leads to symptoms of pain and stiffness in the affected tendons or ligaments of the body. A wide range of he alth problems can lead to pneumatic symptoms. This term is no longer used by medical specialists.
Reciprocal peumatism is a tempo used to hide children's thoughts. These are conditions associated with inflamed tendons, muscles, and tissues that bind or support your organs and other parts of your lower body.
Many pneumatic diseases are autoimmune diseases. These are diseases that occur when the body's immune system attacks he althy tissues in the body, including microbes, bacteria, and viruses. Other pneumatic solutions are caused by crystals - such as those of uric acid on the floor.
In general, rheumatism is an infectious-allergic disease of the connective tissue, protecting the cardiovascular system, the arteries, the internal organs. This collective term includes a whole bunch of different diseases that affect the locomotor system, limit a person's mobility and are extremely painful. The diseases that belong to the rheumatic group can be divided into four subgroups: arthrosis - degradation and wear and tear of the joints, diseases caused by the metabolism, for example gout, rheumatism of the muscles and connective tissue such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, which is the most -the large subgroup.
Are rheumatic diseases hereditary?
- It is assumed that there is a genetic predisposition, but this does not mean that they are hereditary. We humans are the result of millions of years of evolution and thousands of years of civilization. This cannot be ignored.
Legacy component exists
in most rheumatoid diseases, but this does not necessarily mean the appearance and development of the disease. However, this does not mean that people in whose family there were rheumatoid diseases should not be particularly careful about the appearance of unusual symptoms for them.
Does the season affect their manifestation?
- If the disease is well controlled and suppressed, the season does not affect. Yes, when the weather changes abruptly, rheumatic patients begin to have pain in their joints, feel discomfort, stiffness, but if the disease is under control, this does not affect them. In general, our diseases do not like moisture. When it's windy, the barometric pressure changes, the joints react.
Millions of people worldwide suffer from arthritis. How is this suffering detected?
- First the joints of the wrist and fingers swell, they become red, the temperature of the affected areas rises. The symptoms are caused by inflammation of the joint membrane, which later involves the cartilage tissue and bones.
The worst form of arthritis is chronic polyarthritis. With it, permanent damage is observed not only to the joints, but also to the connective tissue near them, to the tendons, muscles, and even to the nerve endings. Sometimes even internal organs, such as the heart or lungs, are affected.
The difference between arthrosis and arthritis is big. Arthritis is inflammation of joints and they have a more serious prognosis. They are characteristic of younger people. The peak of these diseases is between 20 and 40 years, although there are cases with both early and later onset. There are different theories in medicine why the peak in these diseases is at a younger age. But what is characteristic of them is that they affect people of working age and can very quickly become disabled if the patient is not diagnosed promptly and with modern methods and is not adequately treated. For these diseases, the principle in modern medicine is "maximum early diagnosis and maximum early treatment".
What is the reason?
- The reasons are still not fully understood, despite extensive research in this area. Doctors are categorical about one thing -
the immune system plays a leading role
This system mobilizes the body not only against external infections, but also against itself. Immune cells and substances that perform protective functions are mobilized against the cells of the own organism, forming the so-called antibodies and cause inflammation that over time destroys the joints.
How is the diagnosis made?
- When the immune system goes wrong, in many rheumatic forms, so-calledso-called autoantibodies. These are substances that recognize one's own proteins. However, these rheumatoid factors are not completely indicative because they sometimes occur in he althy people or in other diseases. The most accurate diagnosis is made by nuclear magnetic resonance and ultrasound examination. On the basis of these studies, inflammation of the bones can be established, in which their degradation has not yet occurred.
Is there a cure?
- Two approaches apply. In the first case, medications are used that attack symptoms such as pain and swelling. The second approach relies on agents that suppress the immune system.
What is Fibromyalgia?
- This is the most common form of muscle and connective tissue rheumatism, with 90% of sufferers being women. The causes of the disease have not yet been clarified. It is only known that some women suffer from muscle and tendon pain all over the body. Typical symptoms of the disease are sleep and digestion disorders, concentration problems, and states of weakness and fatigue.
What is the likely cause?
- It is assumed that there is a deficiency of the substance serotonin. Therefore, medications that affect the balance of serotonin are increasingly being recommended. It is about antidepressants and preparations developed on the basis of St. John's wort.
If you ride a bicycle for an hour at least twice a week, you can delay the onset of the disease for years. With a diagnosis already made, the rheumatism sufferer can also slow down the inflammatory processes by moving more
Research shows that a special diet can alleviate the complaints of rheumatism sufferers. Eat more fish and less red meat, it contains arachidonic acid, which stimulates the synthesis of inflammatory substances. Fish, seafood, olive oil, olives are rich in omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids, which slow down inflammatory processes.