The Indian Rheumatology Association

The Professional Organization of Rheumatologists and other Health Professionals in India

What Does Rheumatologist Treat

A rheumatologist is a physician, who has received further training in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions commonly referred to as rheumatic diseases. These diseases can affect the joints, muscles and bones causing pain, swelling, stiffness and deformity.

Autoimmune conditions occur when the immune system sends inflammation to areas of the body when it is not needed causing symptoms. These diseases can also affect the eyes, skin, nervous system and internal organs. While orthopedicains treat joint disease surgically rheumatologists treat joint diseases medically.

Apart from the common arthritis like, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatologist also treat gout, chronic back pain, tendinitis, osteoporosis, Myositis , Fibromyalgia and SLE.

When should I see a rheumatologist?

Most of us experience joint or muscle pain at some point in time. Although most of the joint symptoms resolve by itself some of them persists. If your pain is not resolving in 1-2 weeks it is better to take an expert opinion

If joint symptoms are associated with following symptoms it is always advised

1. systemic symptoms like fever weight loss

2. Most severe pain in the morning hours

3. More than 3 joints are involved at the same time

4. Skin rash, abdominal pain

Earlier referral should be made if you have relatives with autoimmune or rheumatic disease (as these conditions run in families) or if the symptoms are significantly worsening over a short period of time.

Joint damage can occur if the symptoms of joint pain are ignored or not treated properly over a period of time. This damage cannot always be reversed with treatment and may be permanent. Do not delay appropriate evaluation.

What should I expect from my rheumatology visit?

Rheumatic diseases are sometimes complex in nature and difficult to diagnose, so rheumatologists will gather a complete medical history and perform a physical exam to look for signs and symptoms of inflammation throughout the entire body and musculoskeletal system. The rheumatologist may order additional laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis. All of these results will be combined to determine the source of a patient’s symptoms and develop a personalized treatment plan. Some rheumatic diseases can be difficult to diagnose and may require several visits for the rheumatologist to fully understand the underlying process.

-Rheumatoid arthritis

-Osteoarthritis

-SLE

-Gout

-Fibromyalgia

-Back pain

-Ankylosing spondylitis

-Psoriatic arthritis

-Osteoporosis

-Vasculitis