A Rheumatologist is a Specialist Physician who treats diseases of the joints, bones, muscles and blood vessels. He not only treats the disease but also prevents damage to joints, consequent deformities and disability. Disability can lead to social problems like a strained marriage or a loss of job. Early diagnosis and treatment is important.
Common symptoms include Pain in Joints, stiffness of joints and loss of function. This could happen in one or more joints in hands, legs or both. There could be associated symptoms like fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, dry mouth, tongue, or eyes. Rashes on face, stiffness of back, scaly skin lesions, patchy hair loss could be associated.
Common illnesses include-
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Osteoarthritis (Pain Knees)
- Psoriatic Arthritis (Skin lesions with Joint Pains)
- Juvenile Idiopathic arthritis (Children with variety of Joint diseases)
- Acute Rheumatic Fever (Fever with Acute joint Pain)
- Infection related Arthritis (Septic Arthritis, Reactive Arthritis)
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
- Connective tissue diseases
- Crystal Arthritis (Gout)
- Vasculitis (Diseases of blood vessels)
- Seronegative Spondyloarthropathies (Inflammatory Backache)
- Osteomalacia and Rickets
Many of these illnesses are Immune mediated.They are much better understood now. Treatment options are improving rapidly.Early diagnosis and treatment can make a lot of difference.