Rheumatology is a branch of medicine dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases that affect muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues. Rheumatologists deal with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus and gout. Through careful evaluation of symptoms and the use of various diagnostic techniques, rheumatologists provide specific therapies to improve patients’ quality of life.

The most common rheumatic disease is rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, this disorder can damage various parts of the body, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body tissues.

Unlike the wear and tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing painful swelling that can eventually lead to bone erosion and joint deformity. If therapy is not started on time, after 10 years 80% of sufferers become severely disabled.

The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can also damage other parts of the body. Although new types of drugs have greatly improved treatment options, severe rheumatoid arthritis can still cause serious damage.

Correct diagnosis of rheumatic diseases may require:

  • examination by a rheumatologist
  • lab analysis of blood and urine
  • x-ray
  • DXA osteodensitometry
  • ultrasound examination of the joints
  • MRI