Rheumatic diseases are those in which the body's own immune system attacks the tissues of the joints, bones, and muscles. These conditions usually affect older adults, but they can appear at any age. All too often, a younger patient will develop a rheumatic condition, but they'll ignore the symptoms for a while because they don't realize they are a sign of something more serious. So, if you have any of the following symptoms, it is a good idea to see a rheumatologist, which is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating these kinds of conditions.
Joint pain that comes and goes.
The joint pain associated with rheumatic diseases tends to come, go, and change a lot. One day, your ankles may be sore. The next, your wrists may be sore. Your wrist pain may then linger for a week before disappearing suddenly. Then a few days later, it comes back. The pattern is different for everyone, and sometimes there is no discernable pattern. However, the experience of this joint pain is quite different from the experience you'd have after a sprained ankle or some other injury.
Swelling and redness in the joints.
Usually, when a rheumatic disease is affecting your joints, it becomes visually obvious. Your joints will look puffy and round like there is more fluid in and around them than usual. The skin on your joints may appear red or pink and irritated. Some people find that these symptoms are worse in the morning and then dissipate during the day. Also, some of your joints may be swollen one day, and other joints the next.
Tiredness and fatigue.
Being tired or fatigued can be a symptom of many different medical conditions, from the flu to cancer. But when your fatigue appears alongside joint pain and swelling, it is likely to be a symptom of rheumatism. Many patients notice fatigue the most when their joints are also the most painful. However, fatigue can also linger. It's not uncommon for patients to lack the energy to get out of bed for a few days in a row. Or, you may slowly stop doing things you enjoy because you don't have the energy.
If you are struggling with the symptoms above, see a rheumatologist. If you do, indeed, have a rheumatic disorder, treatment is available. The earlier you start treatment and medication, the better your results tend to be.
For more information, contact a local clinic like Sarasota Arthritis Center.