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Rheumatology

What is Rheumatology?

Rheumatology is a sub-specialty in internal medicine, devoted to diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases. Health care providers who specialize in rheumatology are called rheumatologists. Rheumatologist are internist or pediatricians who are qualified by additional postgraduate training. The health care providers who pursue this area of medicine go through a fellowship program where they are taught how to deal with clinical problems involving joints, soft tissues, autoimmune diseases, vasculitis, and heritable connective tissue disorders such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis. There are more than 200 types of these diseases and some of these serious diseases can be difficult to diagnose and treat.

Treatment:

Patients with these conditions often need long term, coordinated and a multidisciplinary team approach. Treatment is often personalized according to the individual needs of the patient. The treatment protocol depends on the patient's response and what the patient is able to tolerate. Most rheumatic diseases are treated with analgesics, NSAIDs (Non-Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), steroids (in serious cases), DMARDs (Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs), monoclonal antibodies, such as infliximab and adalimumab, and the soluble TNF receptor etanercept and Methotrexate for moderate to severe Rheumatoid arthritis. Biologic agents such as Rituximab (Anti-B-Cell Therapy) is now licensed for use in refractory Rheumatoid Arthritis. Physical medicine therapy/protocol is vital in the treatment of many rheumatological disorders.