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Rheumatology: Rheumatic Diseases & Rheumatologist Training

Rheumatology is a specialty of medicine which deals with the joints, soft tissues, auto-immune diseases and heritable connective tissue disorders. These problems are collectively called rheumatic diseases or musculoskeletal diseases. Rheumatic diseases affect the body joint tendons, muscles, ligaments, and bones and often cause acute joint pain, loss of motion, or swelling in a joint. These diseases are specifically treated by specialists called rheumatologist, who have expertise in this the field of rheumatology. Rheumatologists treat diseases similar to that of an orthopaedist but do not perform surgeries, instead they examine the condition, then likely devise a plan suitable per condition involving medicines, regular exercises, healthy diet, stress management, and rest.

Causes of Rheumatic Diseases

As of today, more than half the population is affected by rheumatic diseases of a kind or another. These rheumatic diseases occur when the immune system of the body is compromised and instead of preventing attacks, it starts attacking its own tissues. This abruption in the immune system can be linked to genetic disorders or other factors such as smoking, passive smoking, pollution, viruses and infections. Moreover, rheumatic diseases affect more women in general than men.  Some of the risk factors that cause rheumatic diseases are:

  • Smoking
  • Overweight
  • Genetic disorders
  • Abuse of joints
  • Increasing age

Rheumatic Diseases

There are more than 100 rheumatic diseases and disorders. Some of the diseases diagnosed by rheumatologists are:

  • Inflammatory arthritis in knees, hips or shoulders
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Buritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Spondyloarthropathies
  • Gout
  • Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
  • Still’s disease
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Infectious arthritis
  • Polymyalgia rheumatic
  • Polychondritis
  • Polymyositis
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Behcet’s disease
  • Paget’s disease
  • Reiter’s syndrome
  • Sarcoidosis

Rheumatology also involves treating soft tissue and bones problems such as low back pain, tennis or golfer’s elbow, olecranon bursitis, fluorosis, osteoporosis, etc. A rheumatology also cures genetic disorders affecting the joints.

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