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About Rheumatology and Rheumatologists
Rheumatology is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and medical treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. It focuses on rheumatic diseases or conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, lupus, gout, and various other musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders.
A rheumatologist is a medical doctor trained in both internal medicine and rheumatology and is a specialist in diagnosing and treating the above-mentioned conditions. Rheumatologists also work closely with other doctors and specialists to provide the best possible care for their patients. Along with medication and lifestyle changes advised in the treatment plan, they may also recommend surgery if necessary. Rheumatologists are committed to helping their patients manage and reduce the pain, disability, and other symptoms associated with rheumatic diseases so that their quality of life is improved. Some rheumatologists may also be involved in research to better understand the causes of these conditions and develop new treatments.
Types of Rheumatologists
There are several types of rheumatologists, including general rheumatologists and subspecialists. Each type of specialist has a specific area of expertise and can provide specialized care for their particular condition or disorder.
General rheumatologists provide comprehensive care to patients with a wide range of conditions and ailments related to the joints, muscles, and other connective tissues.
Subspecialists focus on specific areas within the field of rheumatology such as inflammatory rheumatic diseases, pediatric rheumatology, or autoimmune diseases.
Other subspecialists may include sports medicine or osteoporosis specialists.
Additionally, many rheumatologists collaborate with other medical professionals such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, and orthopaedic surgeons to provide the best possible care for their patients.
Lab Tests Prescribed by Rheumatologists in Bengaluru
Lab tests are often used by rheumatologists as part of their diagnostic process. Common lab tests ordered by them include:
Complete Blood Count (CBC) - CBCs can help identify anemia, infection, or other problems in the blood.
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) - ESRs measure inflammation levels in the body and can help diagnose rheumatic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
C-reactive Protein (CRP) - CRPs are proteins that become elevated when there is inflammation present in the body, so they are also useful for diagnosing inflammatory conditions such as lupus or RA.
Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) - ANAs look for antibodies, which are produced in response to certain diseases like lupus.
In addition to these tests, rheumatologists may order imaging studies or refer patients for physical therapy. Imaging studies may include X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds, which can help identify areas of inflammation and damage related to a particular condition.
Physical therapy exercises can help strengthen muscles and joints that are affected by rheumatic diseases, improving overall function and quality of life.
Visiting a Rheumatologist Regularly
It is important for those living with rheumatic diseases to visit a rheumatologist regularly. Rheumatologists can help monitor symptoms, identify flares and provide treatments tailored to the patient's individual needs. They can also provide guidance on lifestyle changes such as exercise, diet, and stress reduction that may improve quality of life.
Additionally, rheumatologists can provide advice on medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that may be helpful in managing symptoms.
See a Rheumatologist for These Issues
If you are experiencing pain, inflammation, fatigue, numbness, tningling or other symptoms associated with a rheumatic condition, it is important to seek medical attention. Common signs and symptoms of rheumatic diseases include joint stiffness or swelling, joint pain, muscle tenderness, and fatigue. During the appointment, your doctor will take a detailed medical history and may order lab tests or imaging studies to further evaluate the cause of your symptoms.