The word arthritis comes from the Greek words “Arthron” and “it is,” which literally mean joint inflammation disease. However, it doesn’t just refer to the joints, but also to the connective tissue throughout the body; even muscles and soft tissue can be involved in the inflammatory process.
Inflammation itself causes further damage in the joints and tissues, making them stiff and normal movement difficult. Close to one hundred different conditions are classified under arthritis and a small percentage are known as rheumatic diseases. Some rheumatic diseases affect the supporting framework of the body and its internal organs. Others, such as the autoimmune diseases affect the immune system by harming the body’s own healthy tissues.
Rheumatic diseases are characterized by inflammation (signs are redness and/or heat, swelling, and pain) and loss of function of one or more connecting or supporting structures of the body. They especially affect joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. Common symptoms are pain, swelling, and stiffness. The symptoms and some of the signs of arthritis can be classified under one of the five most common kinds.
The most common is osteoarthritis, and the cause is associated with malabsorption of calcium and vitamin D. Some rheumatic diseases can also involve internal organs. There are more than 100 rheumatic diseases. Throughout article the terms “arthritis” and “rheumatic diseases” are used interchangeably.
Scleroderma is the one of Arthritis and Rheumatic Disease. Scleroderma, which means “hard skin,” is a rare autoimmune disease that leads to an overproduction of the protein collagen. The condition causes thickening, hardening, and tightness of the affected tissues. Affected skin takes on a shiny appearance.