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Rheumatology is a branch of medicine which deals with diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to the immune system. They are also known auto immune disorders. It commonly affects skin and joints but can also affect internal organs like kidney, lungs, eyes, nerves, heart. The diseases included commonly are Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis along with systemic illness like lupus, scleroderma, and vasculitis. These disease requires special attention as they are difficult to diagnosis and are often missed. Hence it is very important that the patient is rightly diagnosed and treated. Because of lack of awareness of these illness, most of the patients have delay in diagnosis and the damages is already done till they finally reach to the right doctor. Rheumatologist is a Specialist in these illnesses and is the right doctor to be approached or referred to in case of suspicion of any rheumatolgical disorder. It is important that diagnosis is done early as instituting the right treatment at the right time ensures control of disease and prevents complications. These are long term diseases and require regular follow up.
Laboratory investigations are always not conclusive and a clinical diagnosis is required in most of the cases. There is no single test which can diagnose a Rheumatic disease. The doctor will need to discuss your symptoms and examine you to check for visible signs of swelling, stiffness and redness in your joints. Blood test can help detect markers of inflammation, antibodies associated with certain diseases and abnormal organ function among other things.
In case anyone experience symptoms like joint pain, swelling, rash, fever of unknown origin. It may point towards a rheumatological diagnosis. Great progress has been made in this field and now most of the illness can be treated and controlled with medications. Treatment includes immunosuppressant and disease modifying agents.
The Rheumatology clinic provides diagnostic and therapeutic services along with newer available treatments in the form of biological treatment. Regular monitoring of clinical progress along with monitoring of side effects of medications and optimization of treatment goals are targets of the rheumatology clinic. The clinic also engages in multi-disciplinary approach including department of dermatology, physiotherapy, nephrologists, neurologist and others as per the disease and organ involvement. As females are generally more affected than males, Clinic also provides counselling and expert opinion to deal with these illness during pregnancy and lactation. Pre conceptual counseling is done so that these patients can plan pregnancies. The clinic also caters to metabolic bone disease, example, “osteoporosis” and also provides latest anti osteoporotic treatment along with counseling and preventive strategies.