RHEUMATISM & CONNECTIVE TISSUE DISEASES SATURDAY SEMINAR
The word “Rheumatism” has been used in many ways. It has been referred to “a condition of the body” or “a result of blood tests” or “a name of a specific disease.” (cf. Diagram-1)
For example, one may hear a person mention that “my old man has rheumatism,” which means that “parts of his body are aching and painful.” This may mean that this person is suffering from symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Or a patient may have had his annual medical checkup and the doctor may warn this patient that if he has symptoms of rheumatism, he should consult with a specialist. This means that the rheumatoid factors are positive.
During a daily clinic visit, a physician may ask the patient “how is your rheumatism today?” instead of"how is your rheumatoid arthritis today ?” In this case "rheumatism" is used as a name of a specific disease.
As we can see in the above mentioned examples, the term "rheumatism" is used in a wide range of cases. In the Saturday Seminar, we will explore the terminology, symptoms. signs, laboratory tests, treatments of various rheumatic diseases.
- １．Symptoms : parts of the body are painful or stiff
- eg. Rheumatic symptoms can (may) appear accompanying with aging.
- ２．Rheumatoid factors are positive in blood tests
- eg. Consult a specialist if there are symptoms.
- ３．Diagnosis (name of disease) is rheumatoid arthritis.
- eg. At consultation, the physician may ask “How is your rheumatism today?” instead of “How is your rheumatoid arthritis today?”
Diagram-1: The term “rheumatism” used in daily life.
The word “rheumatism” was used 3000 years ago in ancient Greece and it meant “to flow.” It was believed that bad fluids would “flow” from the brain to the joints and muscles and would cause pain and stiffness. From this belief, this disease was called “rheumatism.” Other diseases which in present day would be diagnosed as arthritis and gout were all referred to as “rheumatism.” In ancient times, there were more than 100 conditions that were called “rheumatism.” And in recent times, all these conditions have been categorized as “rheumatic diseases.”( cf. Diagram-2)
- Classification of Rheumatic Diseases (Modification of WHO Classification)
- １．Diffuse connective diseases
- ２．Rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory polyarthiritis
- ５．Tendinitis and bursitis
- ６．Soft tissue diseases
- ７．Crystal induced arthritis
- ８．Plasma protein disorders
Rheumatic diseases are classified into “connective tissue diseases,” "autoimmune diseases"and others which are all long and difficult words. It not only confuses the patients and their family members but also the physicians themselves.
In most rheumatic diseases, “the cause is unknown,” “there is no treatment to care,” and “it continues for a long time.” It is critical that the patient understands the diagnosis and the treatment. I have strongly felt the need of sufficient consultation time during which I can explain the disease in full to the patient and the patient and I can discuss the diagnosis and treatment and answer any questions he/she may have.
I will be talking about “rheumatism,” “connective tissue diseases” and “autoimmune diseases.” I earnestly hope that the seminar will provide time to discuss “what the patient does not understand,” “questions that the patient may have” and “anxiety concerning the disease.” I welcome patients and their family members to the seminar and hope it will be of assistance and support to them.
In the seminar, different topics will be discussed each week. For further information, please call us at phone number: 045-290-6088 (Ask for Dr. Akizuki or Mariko Akizuki)