What is Rheumatology?
Rheumatology deals in diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic disease like problem in soft tissues around joints and bones, vasculitis, autoimmune disease and heritable connective tissue disorders. Physician specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other joints, muscles and bones diseases is known as rheumatologist.
Disease and condition Rheumatology doctors are involved in treating the following diseases:
Soft tissue rheumatism
• Tennis elbow
• Low back pain
• Olecranon bursitis
• Golfer's elbow
Congenital and familial disorders
• Ehlers-danlos syndrome
• Hyperextensible joints
• Marfan's syndrome
Tests, treatments, drugs and diagnose
Rheumatology doctors perform physical examinations like multiple joint inspection, schober’s tests and musculoskeletal examination such as SMSE (screening musculoskeletal exam), RMSE (regional musculoskeletal exam) and GMSE (general musculoskeletal exam) to diagnose the disease. Apart from that other methods used by the rheumatology includes X-rays, ultrasounds, cytopathology and chemical pathology of fluid aspirated from joints that are affected and laboratory tests such as anti-nuclear antibody, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, anti-CCP (anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody) and rheumatoid factor.
Time period required to cure rheumatoid arthritis depends on the patient’s response and capacity to tolerate the medications. Most of the rheumatoid arthritis is treated with NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, DMARDs (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, steroids, (when case is too severe), monoclonal antibodies (adalimumad and infliximad) and TNF receptor etanercept. Rheumatology doctors refer for methotrexate in case of refractory rheumatoid arthritis. Apart from that rituximab (anti-B-cell therapy) is used by the doctors in severe rheumatic disease. Occupational therapy is also used for the treatment of disease.
When to call rheumatologist?
Person should consult the rheumatologist if the musculoskeletal disorder and pain (bones, joints and muscles pain) is severe and persists for more than few days.