RHEUMATOLOGY

Rheumatology is a rapidly evolving medical sub-specialty, devoted to the diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic diseases. These diseases especially affect joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. There are more than 200 types of these diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, back pain, osteoporosis, lupus and tendinitis. Some of these are very serious diseases that can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Rheumatic diseases can also involve internal organs.

The cause of every major rheumatological disorder is now best explained by imbalance in the autoimmune system. Hence, rheumatic diseases are often referred as autoimmune disease. The treatment modalities are also based on clinical research on autoimmune system. Evidence-based medical treatment of rheumatological disorders has helped patients with these disorders lead a near normal life.

What causes rheumatic diseases?
Rheumatic diseases are generally believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In other words, you may be born with a susceptibility to a disease, but it may take something in your environment to get the disease started.

Some of these factors have been identified. For example, in osteoarthritis, inherited cartilage weakness or excessive stress on the joint from repeated injury may play a role. Certain viruses may trigger disease in genetically susceptible people. Gender is another factor in some rheumatic diseases. Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and fibromyalgia are more common among women. This indicates that hormones or other male-female differences may play a role in the development of these conditions.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis

  • Swelling in one or more joints
  • Stiffness around the joints in the early morning or with inactivity
  • Constant or recurring pain or tenderness in a joint
  • Difficulty using or moving a joint normally
  • Warmth and redness in a joint
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