Rheumatology is the medical specialty that deals with diseases of joints and structures around them. If you suffer from stiffness particularly in the morning and pain with or without visible swelling in joints (e.g. knees, ankles, shoulders, wrists, elbows, knuckles, etc,) or back or neck, you need to see an arthritis specialist i.e. a Rheumatologist, There are at least 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatism. Many of these are self-limiting disorders i.e., once in a lifetime events; others are remitting and recurring type (e.g., reactive arthritis, gout, Still’s disease), and the worst are chronic and crippling type if not properly treated early enough (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis). A rare category of arthritis includes conditions that can even be life-threatening (e.g., lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis, vasculitis, etc,) Modern medical treatment is highly effective in controlling arthritis, To avoid a bad outcome such as joint deformities, work disability and damage to vital organs, medical treatment must begin at the earliest without delay. Advanced cases of arthritis with destroyed joints generally require surgical treatment i.e., joint replacement surgery.
The department deals with the following diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis/ankylosing spondylitis, osieoarihriiis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, SLE, scleroderrn Siogrens. syndrome, polymyositis/dermatcrnycsiiis, vasculitis (e.g., Wegener’s. granulomatcsis, polyarteritis ncdosa) and soft-tissue rheumatism.
Procedures undertaken by the department:
- Injection of steroids into joints (e.g.., knee, shoulder, wrist, elbow and ankle)
- Injection of steroids into soft tissue in various conditions (e.g„, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, subacrcrnial bursitis, suprapatelllar bursitis, ienosynovìiis, ‘rigger finger, etc}
- Iniection of viscosupolerneni• (Hyalurcniic acid) into knee joint in osieoarthritis
- Intravenous infusions of steroids, cycllcphcsphamide and biological drugs in inflammatory arthriii¾ SILE and vasculitis
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- No. Arthritis affects all ages ranging from early childhood io advanced age. There are 1 00 iypes of arthritis which are prevalent ai different’ agex Treaiment obviously depends on the specific type of arthritis which the individual suffers from,
- Arthritis in the elderly (osteoarthritis) resulis. from age-related changes in the joints, over weight and other factors.Cetain type of arthritis are related to infeciions such as viral arthritis. reactive arthriiisp sexually-transmitted disease-related arthritis and tuberculous rheumatism, A special caiegory of arthritis results from disorder of immune system wherein joint damage is inflicted by one’s own immune system (also called autoimmune disesase. Rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthnlis-onkylosing spondyliiis are ihe prime examples of this group. There is evidence that smoking and consumption of red meat promote development of rheumatoid arthritis.
- This type of arthritis generally affects middle aged males, who have a high uric acid level Typically, it causes very sudden onset of redness, acuie pain and swelling cf the big toe, often waking up the person in the middle of night Unireated, the disease causes recurrent episodes of gout and iicint damage. 11t iS advisable that all gcui patients, after initial conirol of pain, should seek a rheumatology consultation.
- As mentioned earlier, arthritis is the generic name for o diversity of entities„ Conditions like septic arthritis, Viral arthritis, tuberculous arthritis and STD-related arthritis are curable. However, the maicriiy of conditions are chronic in nature and require long-term treatment just as happens in case of other medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma
- If one ot my family members suffers from rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, whot is my risk of acquiring the disease and can I prevent it?
- Rheumatoid arthritis does not commonly run in families. Family history is observed in about 5% of first degree relatives (parents/siblings/children).. However; risk is higher if 2 members already have the disease,. Ankylosing; spondylitis, on the other hand, is seen more often in families (about 15%).. Presence of HI-A B27 gene increases the risk of disease.
- Yes, steroids play a vital role in certain types of arthritis and in certain specific situations or complications of arthritis. These drugs are very powerful and also accompanied by serious adverse effects when given for long periOds., Judicious use of these drugs is recommended even when their use is justified, In rheumatoid arthritis, steroids have been proven io be cf benefit in small doses in early disease (in the first 2 years