Rheumatology, a subspecialty of internal medicine, is devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases . Rheumatologists mainly deal with problems involving the muscles and/or joints.
Diseases diagnosed or managed by the rheumatologist include:
Apart from an extensive medical history and physical examination, a rheumatologist may apply the following diagnostic methods:
Most rheumatic diseases are treated with analgesics, NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory drugs), steroids (in serious cases), DMARDs ("steroid-sparing" agents) and monoclonal antibodies, such as the recently introduced infliximab and etanercept.
Physiotherapy is vital in the treatment of many rheumatological disorders. Occupational therapy can help patients finding alternative ways for common movements which would otherwise be restricted by their disease.
A large body of recent scientific research treats the background of autoimmune disease, the cause of many rheumatic disorders. Epidemiological studies and medication trials are also conducted.
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13