What is Rheumatology?

Rheumatology is the subcategory of Internal Medicine, which deals with the treatment and management of rheumatological diseases.

Rheumatological diseases include more than a hundred diseases of the musculoskeletal and immune systems. Such disorders can be as mild as trauma or spasm and as severe as rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, osteoarthritis, etc. In addition, rheumatological disease can be autoimmune or acquired.

Autoimmune diseases arise when there is a problem in your immune system. Usually, your immune system makes antibodies to fight against foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, etc. But sometimes, the immune system gets oversensitive and starts producing antibodies, called autoantibodies, which attack your body cells. Their targets include joints, skin, heart, liver, eyes, kidneys, and other organ systems in our body.

Rheumatologists can treat several diseases related to rheumatological and musculoskeletal conditions, such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis; swelling and pain in multiple joints
  • Osteoarthritis; cartilage between the joints breaks down, and the underlying bone begins to change
  • Musculoskeletal pain disorders
  • Osteoporosis; when the bones lose mass and are likely to get fractured
  • Gout; when extra uric acid in your body creates sharp crystals in the joints and causes pain and inflammation, especially in the big toe.
  • Myositis; inflammation or swelling in the muscles
  • Fibromyalgia; A condition in which there is widespread pain in the body, accompanied by sleep problems, memory, and mood issues.
  • Tendonitis; swelling in the tendons after a tendon injury
  • Vasculitis; inflammation of the blood vessels
  • Back pain
  • Muscle strains
  • Lupus; a disease that causes joint pain when your immune system attacks your body cells by mistake.
  • Antiphospholipid syndrome; a blood disease where the immune system attacks mistakenly attack a fat(phospholipid) in the body resulting in blood clots
  • Scleroderma; a disorder that causes hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissue
  • Other autoimmune disorders
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