Rheumatic diseases can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, and bones. Rheumatic diseases can also affect other areas of the body, including organs. Some rheumatic diseases affect connective tissues. These types of tissues include muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The diseases are known as connective tissue diseases. Other types of diseases are caused by the body immune system attacking its own healthy cells and tissues. These are known as autoimmune disorders.
One of the major changes in modern rheumatology is the development of new drugs called biologics, or disease modifying agents, which can control severe disease more effectively. Childhood arthritis, also known as juvenile arthritis, is any form of arthritis or arthritis related conditions which affects individuals under the age of 16. Juvenile arthritis is a chronic, autoimmune disease. Three classifications of juvenile arthritis exists, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA), and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) of which, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is the most common.
Most rheumatic diseases are treated with analgesics, NSAIDs, steroids, Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs, monoclonal antibodies, such as infliximab and adalimumab, and the soluble TNF receptor etanercept and Methotrexate for moderate to severe Rheumatoid arthritis. Biologic agent Rituximab is now licensed for use in refractory Rheumatoid Arthritis. Physiotherapy is vital in the treatment of many rheumatological disorders.