Rheumatism – a common disease with many faces
Why research is important
Rheumatic diseases can affect anyone and there are over 100 different disease forms. They can occur at any age and can be very severe.
In Germany alone, about 5 million are affected by the “wear and tear” condition osteoarthritis, leading to degeneration of the joints. In addition, 1.5 million adults and 20,000 children have chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases. These diseases usually cause painful inflammation of joints and muscles. The most common inflammatory joint disease is rheumatoid arthritis. However, rheumatic inflammation can also affect other organs such as the skin, the vessels (vasculitides), the connective tissue (collagenoses) or the eyes. Women are affected by rheumatic diseases slightly more often than men.
Despite modern therapies, rheumatic diseases can severely impair everyday life. They still are the second most common cause of work disability in Germany.
There is treatment for rheumatic diseases, but still no cure
Thanks to great progress in research and therapy, inflammatory rheumatic diseases can be stopped and significantly alleviated today, but most patients are on life-long medication. If therapies are stopped, the inflammation flares up again. For three decades, the DRFZ has thus been addressing the need for research on rheumatic diseases.