General or Other | Rheumatology (Medicine Field)
Rheumatology is the field of medicine devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the muscles, bones and joints, often caused by immune system dysfunction. It deals mainly with clinical problems involving joints, soft tissues, autoimmune diseases, vasculitis, and heritable connective tissue disorders.
A rheumatologist is a specialist in the non-surgical treatment of rheumatic illnesses, especially arthritis. He has experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Many rheumatologists conduct research to determine the cause and better treatments for these disabling and sometimes fatal diseases.
Symptoms and Diseases
Rheumatologists treat arthritis, autoimmune diseases, pain disorders affecting joints, and osteoporosis. There are more than 200 types of these diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, back pain, osteoporosis, and tendinitis. They treat soft tissue problems related to musculoskeletal system, sports related soft tissue disorders and the specialty is also interrelated with physiotherapy, physical medicine and rehabilitation of disabled patients.
Rheumatology is devoted to a wide range of diseases, most of unknown etiology and pathophysiological mechanisms are not well defined. This has made quite an overall structure of the clinical entities that fall within the domain of rheumatology.
Rheumatology is a rapidly evolving medical specialty, with advancements owing largely to new scientific discoveries related to immunology of these disorders. Correspondingly, most new treatment modalities are also based on clinical research in immunology and the resulting improved understanding of the genetic basis of rheumatological disorders. However, effort and years of study, and research have been developed to approximate classifications more fully to the patient with rheumatic disease.
Apart from an extensive medical history, there are useful methods of diagnosis both performed easy enough in a physical examination and, on the other hand, more complicated ones, often requiring a rheumatologist or other specialised physicians.
Diagnosis, Treatment and Benefits
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.