What is rheumatism?
Rheumatism is a collective name for a large number of medical problems affecting the joints and connective tissue. It is estimated that 15 percent of the population suffer from a rheumatic disorder at some point. It is more common in females than in males. Rheumatism can occur at any age but is more common in adults that in children.
"Rheumatic disorders" mainly occur in the joints, but can also appear in other parts of the body, such as bones, muscles, nerves and cartilage. Damage that is the direct result of an accident is not a rheumatic disorder. The disorder can lead to various (long-term) pains and stiffness in joints. The patient can also experience swelling, tingling and redness in these joints.
There are lots of different types of rheumatic disorders. The best known are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis. They are generally classified into four types of rheumatism: inflammatory rheumatism, degenerative rheumatism, soft tissue rheumatism and skeletal rheumatism. The cause, complaints and progress of the disorder are different for each type of rheumatism.