Rheumatology is a specialty of medicine which involves non surgical care of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Musculoskeletal diseases involve the joints, muscles, bone and tendons. They are a major cause of disability and one of the most common ailments for which a person consults a doctor. Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which the immune system of the body treats its own tissues as foreign and tries to destroy them. Rheumatic diseases consist of more than 100 conditions that can have a profound effect on the ability to perform daily activities and damage internal organs. In the past, treatment of rheumatic diseases included just pain relieving medications and exercises, but in the last two decades, scientific knowledge has revolutionized the entire approach to management of these conditions.
Who is a Rheumatologist?
A rheumatologist is a physician who is qualified, by additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. After four years of medical school and three years of training in internal medicine, rheumatologists devote additional two to three years in specialised rheumatology training.
What are these diseases?
Rheumatic diseases can be classified in to the following groups:
Why one needs to be aware?
Arthritis, if untreated, damages the joints leading to deformities and disability thereby restricting movements and functionality. Autoimmune diseases can irreversibly damage internal organs like kidney, lungs, brain and can be life threatening. Osteoporosis results in fractures with minimal injury and affects quality of life. The good part is that if treated timely, these diseases can be controlled effectively and damage can be prevented.
Are you in the high risk group?
Though the exact cause of many arthritis and autoimmune diseases are unknown, there are specific risk factors.
What is the importance of screening?
What are the various methods of management?