RESPONDING TO the needs of patients in the Algarve, a new rheumatology service has just been launched jointly by the Santa Maria private hospital of Faro and the São Gonçalo private hospital in Lagos.
According to the Portuguese League against Rheumatological Diseases, around 2.7 million people in Portugal (equivalent to 25.7 per cent of the population) suffer from some form of rheumatological complaint. This figure is on the rise due to the population becoming older and the adoption of unhealthier lifestyles.
Rheumatology consists of medical disorders that affect the musculoskeletal system, particularly the joints and surrounding soft tissues. These can include connective tissue disease, soft tissue rheumatism, arthritis, vasculitis and bone disease.
Symptoms may be of stiffness, limitation of movement and function, or most commonly pain. Symptoms may be localised to a specific joint, for example the elbow, or to more general areas, for example the neck or back.
The majority of rheumatic diseases are chronic and incurable, however, with medical attention, adequate medication and a healthy lifestyle, it is possible to minimise its effects and increase quality of life.
Prevention continues to be the best way to combat these illnesses: the regular taking of exercise, a healthy diet, use of an orthopaedic mattress and the avoidance of tobacco and alcohol form some of the advice given by rheumatologists to minimise the risk of being affected by a rheumatological complaint.
For more information about the new service call Faro: 289 892 040 or Lagos: 282 790 700.
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