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1. Who is a rheumatologist?
A rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in internal medicine and deals with rheumatic diseases. Rheumatic diseases may affect your muscles, joints, bone, skin, eyes and internal organs. Rheumatic diseases are autoimmune conditions in which your body produces antibodies that attack normal cells. A rheumatologist will diagnose the autoimmune condition and treat it.
2. What diseases does a rheumatologist treat?
A rheumatologist can treat rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis (joint pain and swelling), Sjogren's syndrome (dry eyes and mouth), lupus (sensitivity to sunlight and joint pain), ankylosing spondylosis(joint pain), scleroderma (hard skin), andmultiple sclerosis (loss of external sheath of nerve fibre). A rheumatologist can treat osteoarthritis occuring due to old age.
3. What are the symptoms for which you need to see a rheumatologist?
If you experience the following symptoms, you need to see a rheumatologist: pain and swelling in the joints, morning stiffness, fatigue, sensitivity to light, rashes around the cheeks, anaemia, dryness of mouth and eyes and weight loss.
4. Is a rheumatologist, and an orthopaedic doctor the same?
No, a rheumatologist and an orthopaedic doctor are not the same. A rheumatologist diagnoses and treats rheumatic diseases which are autoimmune in origin. An orthopaedic doctor diagnoses and treats conditions related to bones, joints, muscles and tendons generally due to an injury or trauma. A rheumatologist cannot perform surgery; while an orthopaedic doctor can operate the patient.
5. Does a rheumatologist treat bone cancer?
No, a rheumatologist cannot treat bone cancer. It is necessary that you visit an oncologist who diagnoses and treats cancer. A rheumatologist deals only with stiffness, pain and the wear and tear of the bone due to the underlying autoimmune disorder.