What is Rheumatology?
Rheumatology is a specialized field in medicine dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system, which are the joints, bones, muscles, and connective tissues. Such diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus, gout, and numerous other autoimmune diseases and soft tissue problems.
The prevalence of rheumatic diseases is significant and continues to rise, affecting millions of people worldwide of all age groups. Conditions like osteoarthritis, for example, are common in older adults, while rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus are autoimmune disorders that can affect people of all ages. These diseases can lead to debilitating pain, stiffness, deformity and reduced mobility, impacting a person’s quality of life.
Early diagnosis and appropriate management are vital to prevent irreversible damage to joints, muscles or other organs and the systemic complications associated with many rheumatic diseases. Rheumatologists employ a combination of medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications to alleviate symptoms and enhance patients' overall health.