There are many different rheumatic diseases but a common feature is that they cause stiff and aching joints. Most rheumatic diseases are associated with inflammation, which means there is an inflammatory process in the body that drives the disease. Many rheumatic diseases are autoimmune, indicating that the body attacks itself.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease that leads to stiff, swollen and aching joints. It often starts in the small joints of the hands and feet. The disease may also lead to inflammation in other organs of the body.
Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease. The endocrine glands, such as tear and salivary glands, are broken down, resulting in dryness. Other organs such as kidney, nervous system and lungs can also be affected.
SLE is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects women. Symptoms vary depending on which organ is attacked, but common symptoms are joint pain, hair loss, sore mucous ulcers, itchy skin blisters (caused by UV radiation from the sun), palpitations and lethargy, as well as pain while taking deep breaths.
Myositis is an inflammatory rheumatic muscle disease which leads to muscle weakness in the arms and legs. Lungs and joints can also be affected. There are different forms of myositis: polymyositis (multiple muscle inflammation), dermatomyositis (polymyositis with concomitant skin symptoms) and inclusion body myositis (often leading to the withering of will-controlled muscles).
Source: www.reumatiskasjukdomar.se, www.reumatikerforbundet.org