Rheumatology is a sub-specialty in internal medicine and pediatrics, devoted to diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic diseases. Clinicians who specialize in rheumatology are called rheumatologists. Rheumatologists deal mainly with clinical problems involving joints, soft tissues, autoimmune diseases, vasculitis, and heritable connective tissue disorders.
Rheumatologists diagnose and treat several diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, systemic lupus erythematosus, back pain, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Certain rheumatic conditions are difficult to diagnose in the early stages and also to treat. It is important that diagnosis and treatment begin early, as some musculoskeletal disorders respond best to treatment in the early stages of the disease else may cause severe complications in future.
Some rheumatic diseases are complex and often change or evolve over time. In such cases rheumatologists work closely with patients to determine a diagnosis and course of treatment. They often serve as physicians, acting like consultant to advice for other doctors. Rheumatology has helped patients with rheumatological disorders lead a near normal life without any disabilities.
Common rheumatological disorders:
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Crohn's Disease
- Infectious Arthritis
- Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
- Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
- Sjogren's Syndrome
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus