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Rheumatism is a disease that causes pain due to muscles or joints that experience inflammation and swelling. Rheumatism consists of various types and can infect any joint in the body.

There are more than 100 types of rheumatism and the following are some of the most common types of rheumatism.

Symptoms of rheumatism

There are several types of rheumatism and can infect joints in any area of the body:

1. Sjogren's syndrome

Immune system diseases that commonly occur in women attack the tissues and also cause inflammation. Some of the symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome, namely:

  • The eyes are sore and irritated.
  • The parotid gland is swollen.
  • Lack of tear production by glands in the eye.
  • The health of the teeth and gums is disrupted.
  • The glands in the mouth cannot produce enough saliva.

In addition, the symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome that are less common are internal organs that are disrupted and the joints feel stiff and sore.

Sjogren's syndrome can be diagnosed by carrying out a physical examination and some follow-up tests such as the following:

  • Blood test to find out whether Sjogren's syndrome has an impact on the immune system by examining the presence of anti-La and anti-Ro antibodies.
  • Schirmer test and tear break-up time to check and measure how effectively the tear glands produce tears.
  • Average saliva production test to see if the amount of saliva produced is below the normal limit.
  • Biopsy or examination of small tissue samples from the inner lip to check whether there is a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes in the tissues. This can indicate Sjogren's syndrome.

2. Lupus

Lupus is a disease related to the human immune system which has several symptoms including:

  • Hair loss
  • Stroke
  • The joints are stiff and painful and tired
  • The organs in the body are affected
  • The appearance of a rash around the cheeks
  • Blood disorders arise such as the number of platelets and white blood cells under normal conditions
  • Color changes in the fingers or toes appear when exposed to cold weather

The symptoms of lupus experienced by each patient can be different and erratic, which makes lupus difficult to diagnose. But there are several blood tests that can be done to help diagnose lupus such as erythrocyte sedimentation tests, antinuclear antibody tests, and a complete blood test.

In addition, the doctor may also suggest checking urine samples and examining kidney and liver function. An examination using an echocardiogram and X-ray on the chest will be recommended by the doctor if the heart or lungs are suspected to have contracted lupus.

3. Rheumatoid arthritis

The condition of rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body's immune system attacks joint tissues resulting in the joint being attacked, so that the joint will experience inflammation. The following symptoms in the joints that arise from rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Red and hot.
  • Pain caused by active inflammation.
  • The joint swells due to accumulation of fluid.
  • Stiffness in the morning or after a long time is not moved.

Rheumatoid arthritis that continues to develop can cause damage and permanent changes in the joints. As a result, joint movements begin to be limited and joint function can disappear completely.

In addition to the joints, rheumatoid arthritis can also cause other symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, muscle aches and reduced appetite. Rheumatoid arthritis can also develop outside the joints of the body and attack other organs such as the eyes, skin, kidneys and heart.

The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis will be done by a doctor based on symptoms, physical changes in the joints, and medical examinations such as the following:

  • X-ray to examine the joints and bones around it.
  • A blood test to check if the body is experiencing inflammation and to check for the presence of rheumatoid factors that appear in some people with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Ultrasound to see in the joint.
  • MRI scans to examine joints further with more detailed and clear images.


In general, this disease can not be cured completely, but with the right treatment, symptoms and development can help sufferers stay productive lives.

4. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that causes pain so that movement in the joints is limited. This type of disease can infect various kinds of joints, such as the fingers, neck, legs, waist, knees and hips. Some of the symptoms of Osteoarthritis include:

  • The joint becomes unstable, feels stiff and swollen.
  • If the joint is touched it will feel warm.
  • Joints hurt when walking.

In addition, osteoarthritis can also cause muscle weakness and can affect daily life, such as having difficulty bending, wearing clothes, sitting, and even holding objects.

The diagnosis of osteoarthritis is done by physical examination and medical tests. The doctor will then advise you to carry out further examinations such as the following:

  • Blood test to find out if there are other causes of joint pain.
  • X-ray to see bone spurs around the joints.
  • Analysis of joint fluid to check whether the pain that arises is caused by infection or uric acid crystals.
  • MRI to see soft tissue, bone and cartilage in more detail.

5. Ankylosing spondylitis

This chronic inflammatory disease infects the spine and other body parts with young men up to the age of 30 years. Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis itself include:

  • The pain starts from the bottom up the spine.
  • The back feels stiff and sore when standing.
  • The buttocks and lower back feel painful and arise slowly.
  • The body part between the neck and shoulder blades is painful.

There are several areas of the body most often affected by ankylosing spondylitis, namely shoulder joints, vertebrae, cartilage between the ribs and breastbone, joints between the pelvis and base of the spine, and ligaments and tendons in the spinal joints and behind the heel .

The spine will become more stiff and difficult to bend if ankylosing spondylitis is not immediately treated. Physical examination, X-ray and MRI scans can be done to diagnose ankylosing spondylitis.

Causes of rheumatism

Actually the cause of rheumatism at a young age of rheumatoid arthritis is still not known, but there are 5 factors that can increase the likelihood of rheumatoid arthritis, namely:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is more experienced by women because it has the hormone estrogen which can produce an immune system that is not good.
  • If there is a family that has rheumatoid arthritis, a person's risk of developing the disease also increases.
  • People who are overweight (obesity) are more susceptible to various diseases, one of them is arthritis.
  • Environmental factor. This can make a person affected by rheumatoid arthritis because it affects the strength of the immune system.
  • Smoking habit. By smoking, it can trigger various diseases and increase the risk of contracting rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatism Treatment

Treatment for rheumatic diseases, there are various ways such as:

  • Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Enough rest.
  • Undergo a diet pattern.
  • Interact with rheumatology specialists for examination and treatment of rheumatic diseases.

Prevention of rheumatism

Some ways that can be done to prevent rheumatism are:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat healthy food.
  • Maintain weight to stay ideal.

See a rheumatologist if you experience symptoms as mentioned above to get further examination and treatment.



American College of Rheumatology (2017).

Heidari, B. (2011). Rheumatoid Arthritis: Early Diagnosis and Treatment Outcomes. Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.