Rheumatic diseases are a diverse group of diseases that commonly affect the joints, but can affect any organ of the body. There are more than 200 different conditions, affecting both children and adults.
They are usually caused by problems of the immune system, inflammation, infections or gradual deterioration of joints, muscles and bones. Many of these diseases are long term and worsen over time.
They are typically painful and limit function. In severe cases, some conditions can result in significant disability and have the potential to have a major impact on both quality of life and life expectancy.
A rheumatologist is experienced in diagnosing the particular condition and helping to work out the best treatment approach.
Below are the most common conditions I see.