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What is Rheumatology?
Rheumatology is a subspecialty in internal medicine and pediatrics that deals with the joints, soft tissues, autoimmune diseases.
What is a rheumatologist?
A rheumatologist is physician who is qualified by additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles, soft tissues and bones and autoimmune diseases. Many of arthritis diseases are related to autoimmunity Many rheumatologists conduct research to determine the cause and better treatments for these disabling and sometimes fatal diseases.
What do rheumatologists treat?
Rheumatologists treat arthritis (joint pain and swelling), certain autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorders and osteoporosis. There are more than 100 types of these diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, Scleroderma, vasculitis, back pain, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Some of these are very serious diseases that can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
When should you see a rheumatologist?
If musculoskeletal pains are not severe or disabling and last just a few days, it makes sense to give the problem a reasonable chance to be resolved. But sometimes, pain in the joints, muscles or bones is severe or persists for more than a few days. At that point, you should see a rheumatologist.
Many types of rheumatic diseases are not easily identified in the early stages. Rheumatologists are specially trained to do the detective work necessary to discover the cause of swelling and pain. It’s important to determine a correct diagnosis early so that appropriate treatment can begin early. Some musculoskeletal disorders respond best to treatment in the early stages of the disease.
Because some rheumatic diseases are complex, one visit to a rheumatologist may not be enough to determine a diagnosis and course of treatment. These diseases often change or evolve over time. Rheumatologists work closely with patients to identify the problem and design an individualized treatment program.
Is specialty care more expensive?
You may be surprised to learn that specialized care may save time and money and reduce the severity of disease. A rheumatologist is specially trained to spot clues in the medical history and physical examination. The proper tests done early may save money in the long run. Prompt diagnosis and specially tailored treatment often save money and buy time in treating the disease.
MBBS, MD (Internal Medicine)