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Rheumatism is an umbrella term for more than 100 chronic disorders of the joints, muscles and tendons. Almost 2 million Dutch do have a form of Rheumatism. Anyone can get a form Rheumatism at any age. Many people think that only older people suffer from Rheumatism. The reality is that 61% of all patients are younger than 65 years. Even children can have some form of Rheumatism.

Categories of Rheumatism

There are three groups of Rheumatism.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (AR)

These are types of rheumatism  where the body’s immune system is attacking the joints. This results in inflammation and thickening of the joint capsule. It also affects the underlying bone and cartilage. Approximately 420.000 people in the Netherlands have a form of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

This is a type of joint disease that results from breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. Approximately 1.1 million people in the Netherlands have a form of Osteoarthritis.

Fibromyalgia (FM)

Is group of medical conditions of which one of the characteristics is chronic widespread pain in muscle tissue  and other weak tissues. Approximately 240.000 people in the Netherlands have a form of Fibromyalgia.

Some patients have more than one type or Rheumatism

Rheumatoid symptoms

Most people with rheumatism have pain and stiffness and tiredness  in the joints or muscles. Because of this, movement is difficult and this can cause limitations in daily life. Rheumatism is erratic. Symptoms can disappear for a while and suddenly appear again.

How to recognise Rheumatism

See a GP when you notice the following:

  • Swelling and warm feeling of joints
  • Prolonged pain in muscles and/or joints
  • Pain and stiffness after you have seated or lied for a short while and start moving again.

These symptoms can also have other causes. The GP will send you, when needed, to a rheumatologist or another specialist.

Chronic Disease

The cause for Rheumatism is not known. There is no cure. Most Rheumatoid disorders are chronic. Good treatment can give relief of pain.

Tietze Syndrome

Tietze Syndrome is an infection of the cartilage, however no rheumatoid indicators can be found in the blood. Therefore Tietze is a disorder related to rheumatism.

Possible causes

The exact cause  of the Tietze syndrome is unknown.  But research over time has come up with some possible causes such as:[ prolonged strenuous movements which expand the ribcage and displaces the ribs, like very deep breathing, lying, bending, scraping of the throat, coughing, sneezing and heavy exertion, trauma, like a punch to the ribcage, pregnancy or an infection of the upper airways.

[input 24-12-2015: website van het Reumafonds]

Tietze Syndrome is an infection of the cartilage , however no rheumatoid indicators can be found in the blood. Therefore Tietze is a Rheuma Related disease.


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