Rheumatology is the medical specialty that deals with the diagnosis and control of both skeletal muscle diseases and those of autoimmune origin. These diseases – there are more than 200 – affect any age range and are the second cause of consultation in Primary Care. They require both a good diagnosis and treatment and prevention as they deteriorate the quality of life of people.
Musculoskeletal diseases affect bones, muscles and joints, as well as the tissues that surround them, which can produce pain, inflammation, stiffness, limited movement and deformity. On the other hand, systemic autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, or Sjögren’s syndrome, can affect any organ in the body, such as the kidneys, lung, skin, heart or brain.
There are many pathologies that can be treated by traumatology and rheumatology because they overlap. The way to clearly differentiate both fields is as follows: “rheumatologists are responsible for the locomotor system and any pain of non-traumatic origin”, of course before an inflammation that is not caused by a blow should go to this type of specialists.
All this group of diseases can be divided according to the type of location in:
- ARTHRITIS: the joint is directly affected, inflamed and both hurts and limits mobility. They can be independent processes or be part of other rheumatic diseases.
- ARTHROSIS: the articular cartilage that is progressively degenerated is directly affected and thus the joint hurts, deforms and loses its mobility. Osteoarthritis can be primary (the most frequent and of unknown cause) or secondary to other diseases.
- PAIN LUMBAR: it is a very frequent health problem in our population. It can have different origins, such as in a herniated disc or in the lumbar canal, in many cases it is of unknown origin
- OSTEOPOROSIS AND PRIMARY BONE DISEASES: Osteoporosis is a disease in which lack of bone strength leads to the appearance of fractures. The aging of our population makes it a problem of maximum prevalence among our population.
- RHEUMATISMS OF SOFT PARTS: Are those that affect tendons, muscles and can get to trap nerves.
- AUTOIMMUNE AND SYSTEMIC DISEASES: They affect the immune system, which produces antibodies (autoantibodies) against the organism itself, that is, an alteration of immunity in which it is recognized as foreign. The injuries affect the entire organism.
VASCULITIS: In this case the predominant affectation is inflammation at the level of the blood vessels (arteries, arterioles, veins, capillaries). This inflammation can also be triggered by the presence of autoantibodies. Polymyalgia rheumatica is the most prevalent diseases in this group.