Rheumatology - Introduction

Rheumatology is a branch of medicine that deals with the joints, soft tissues, autoimmune diseases and connective tissue disorders. These conditions are typically chronic meaning the conditions persist over long period of time, often lifetimes, even though symptoms may not always be present. Rheumatic diseases are characterized by inflammation that affects the connecting or supporting structures of the body. Some factors that can increase the risk of developing rheumatic disease are smoking, increasing age, excessive weight, and genetic factor.

Rheumatic diseases affect all ages and both genders, although women are more frequently affected than men. Rheumatic diseases encompass more than 200 different diseases.


A rheumatologist is an internist or pediatrician who has specialized training and qualification in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disease and autoimmune conditions commonly referred to as rheumatic diseases. Rheumatic diseases affect your joints, tendons, ligaments, bones and muscles. These can ultimately cause loss of function in those body parts. Rheumatologist specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and therapy of rheumatic diseases.

The difference between rheumatologist and orthopedists is that rheumatologist treats joint diseases but do not perform surgeries.

Rheumatoid conditions include a variety of conditions that can affect your muscles or joints. Common diseases treated by rheumatologists include-

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Scleroderma

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