Rheumatic Diseases, Rheumatism, and Arthritis

Often, doctors and those in the medical profession use the terms Rheumatic diseases and arthritis to describe the same diseases, but there is actually a technical difference between the two. Rheumatism is another term often used to describe arthritis, although today its use is less common.

Rheumatic Diseases

Rheumatic Disease is used to describe a disease that affects the body’s joints, tendons, muscles, and bones, which are classified as Supporting Structures. Typically rheumatic disease is characterized by inflammation of the supporting structures, which often results in limited mobility. However, rheumatic diseases can also effect other organs and sometimes acts as an autoimmune disease, in which the persons own body attacks itself.


Today, most doctors no longer use the term rheumatism. Typically, rheumatism and rheumatic disease are used to refer to the same types of disorders. When used in medical professions, the rheumatism is usually used to describe a specific location. For example,it might be described as regional rheumatism and generalized rheumatism.


Arthritis can be classified as a subcategory of Rheumatic Disease. Its symptoms include inflammation of the joints, stiffness of the joints, and joint pain. In serious cases of arthritis, joint deformity can occur.

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