What are the Most Common Rheumatic Symptoms?

Jessica F. Black

The most common rheumatic symptoms are inflammation of the affected area, joint swelling and pain, deformed joints, and difficult joint movement. These symptoms vary depending on the rheumatic condition that the patient suffers from. There are over 15 major forms or rheumatic diseases, including rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease, polymyalgia rheumatica, and rheumatoid arthritis. Most rheumatic symptoms have treatment available, which is determined on a case-to-case basis. The causes of the various symptoms also depends on the particular condition suffered.

Rheumatic fever can cause a high fever and aching joints.
Rheumatic fever can cause a high fever and aching joints.

Two of the most common rheumatic diseases are rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. Rheumatic fever is usually identified by complaints of aching joints, high fever, joint swelling, abdominal pain, muscle weakness and sensitivity, and skin rashes. This condition is often connected to a recent struggle with strep throat or scarlet fever, and these particular symptoms are generally treated with prescribed anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medications. Rheumatic heart disease is primarily caused by the fever's damage to the heart valves, and fever and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms. This disease usually requires a surgical procedure to either repair or replace the damaged heart valve.

Rheumatic arthritis commonly affects joint performance.
Rheumatic arthritis commonly affects joint performance.

Polymyalgia rheumatica, an inflammatory disorder, produces various rheumatic symptoms including limited motion, muscle stiffness, aching arms, fatigue, and pain in hips, legs, shoulders, neck, and back. Some of the causes for polymyalgia rheumatica can be attributed to active inflammatory cells, injury, genetic components, and viral infections. This condition is generally treated with corticosteroids, but some lifestyle changes can assist with treatment and prevention. A healthy diet and exercises that focus on bone strength are often recommended.

Rheumatic fever may cause abdominal pain.
Rheumatic fever may cause abdominal pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the more common conditions and the rheumatic symptoms often affect joint performance directly. Smaller joints, feet, hands, ankles, and wrists typically exhibit the initial symptoms of tenderness, swelling, and pain. The disease travels throughout the body and rheumatic symptoms progressively affect the larger joints and surrounding areas. Some of these symptoms are not permanent, and patients can often experience interludes of extended relief. Although no cure has been recorded, there are countless treatment methods that can reduce pain and inflammation.

Rheumatic fever often occurs after a strep throat infection.
Rheumatic fever often occurs after a strep throat infection.

Climate is rumored to sometimes cause the onset of rheumatic symptoms, and some studies have shown that damper climates aggravate nerve ends causing additional pain. During extreme climate changes, bones and muscles can unevenly expand and contract, which can increase symptoms. All symptoms associated with rheumatic conditions should be reported to a physician in order to receive accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for relief.

Rheumatoid arthritis may cause swelling and tenderness in the ankles and feet.
Rheumatoid arthritis may cause swelling and tenderness in the ankles and feet.

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