Rheumatology is the branch of science that undertakes the follow-up and treatment of these diseases. There are approximately 200 diseases within the concept of rheumatic disease. Sometimes joint rheumatism, connective tissue rheumatism, vascular rheumatism, muscle rheumatism, etc. can be divided into sub-branches. The reason for this different structuring is that some rheumatic diseases are formed by autoimmune and some by autoinflammatory mechanisms. For example, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are rheumatic diseases caused by autoimmune mechanisms, while anclosing spondylitis and familial Mediterranean fever are rheumatic diseases caused by autoinflammatory mechanisms.
Autoimmune mechanisms are female, and autoinflammatory mechanisms are mechanisms that work against the male gender.
Genetic predisposition is at the root of both mechanisms, hormonal factors modify this genetic predisposition, and environmental factors, which we call epigenetic factors, trigger the occurrence of the disease. This feature explains why some rheumatism occurs in childhood and some in maturity.
Are rheumatic diseases contagious?
Although there is inflammation in all rheumatic diseases (roughly, inflammation), this inflammation is an inflammation that contains microbes. The inadequacy of the cellular systems that regulate the genetically dysfunctional immune system and control its functions is a sterile inflammation that occurs simultaneously with the disappearance of the immune system’s principle of recognizing its own cells and not fighting them, which we call “self-tolerance”. In an analogy, if the immune system is our army that provides our defense and security, the deterioration of self-tolerance and the onset of inflammation is “friendly fire”. Therefore, rheumatic diseases are not transmitted.
I have rheumatism, will my child also have rheumatism?
Although the underlying genetic disorder in all rheumatic diseases, some of them can be passed on to new generations as a predisposition, and some can be passed on as autosomal recessive or dominant. In other words, if you have a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus, it does not mean that your children will be sick. However, it is closer to rheumatism than its healthy peers. If you have a disease such as familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), your child is much more likely to have FMF. Especially if you have had a consanguineous marriage, this probability approaches 100%.