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What is rheumatism?

Q: I am a 26 years old woman having rheumatism, which started after delivery. Is rheumatism curable?

A:It is important to explain about the word rheumatism. Any ache and pain in the musculoskeletal system of the body is called rheumatism. In that sense it is a term that is not specific for any disease but only refers to aches and pains. It is like saying whether fever is curable or not? Fever is only a symptoms and not a disease. Therefore, the question would be what is the cause of fever? If it is a simple viral fever it will subside in a few days by itself. On the other hand if the fever is due to urine infection or typhoid or TB, specific treatment for that disease would be required to cure the condition. Lastly, if the fever is due to cancer or some such serious disease, it may or may not be cured depending upon the type, duration or severity of the cancer. Exactly in the same way, rheumatism could be caused by more than 100 different diseases. Therefore, your question can be answered only after full evaluation of your condition to find out the cause of your aches and pains. For this there are specialist doctors called rheumatologist who are physicians specially trained in diagnosing and treating diseases of the joints (not orthopaedic surgeons). Therefore, get hold of a rheumatologist at your earliest as time is at premium here. This is very important because only a correct diagnosis leads to correct treatment. And, correct treatment given in early stages may completely halt the progression of the disease.

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