The rheumatology is the field of medicine appointed to the outcome of the diseases that manifest themselves at the expense of the joints, muscles, bones and, sometimes, other internal organs (kidneys, lungs, blood vessels and brain) in the form of inflammation (rheumatic diseases).
What does the rheumatologist do?
The rheumatologist has as its task the diagnosis, treatment and management, from a medical point of view, of patients suffering from rheumatic diseases, such as arthritis . The goal of the rheumatologist is to guarantee the patient the best possible quality of life. This purpose is achieved by prescribing drugs, treatments or other specialist visits, but also by indicating to the interested party and his family the best way to live with chronic disorders.
What are the pathologies treated by the rheumatologist?
The rheumatologist treats the following diseases most frequently :
- inflammatory rheumatism, such as acute joint rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis
- connectivitis, for example systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren’s syndrome, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, scleroderma and vasculitis
- arthritis caused by infectious agents, such as Lyme disease
- arthropathies from metabolic alterations, such as gout
- degenerative diseases such as arthrosis
- extrarticular rheumatism, for example fibromyalgia, bursitis and periarthritis
- bone diseases, for example osteoporosis , osteomalacia and Paget ‘s disease
- Raynaud’s disease
- rheumatic symptoms associated with other pathologies
- paraneoplastic syndromes and some neoplasms
What are the procedures most used by the rheumatologist?
The rheumatologist usually uses various procedures in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatism. Among them we mention:
- blood tests
- urine tests
- synovial fluid tests
- joint ultrasound
It is also possible to receive advice aimed at rest, the practice of adequate physical activity, a balanced diet, methods to reduce stress, the use of adequate sun protection and, if necessary, surgery.
When to ask for an appointment with the rheumatologist?
There are various symptoms to watch out for:
- swelling in the joints;
- headache (possibly with vision problems) or fever associated with elevated ves;
- white or blue fingers, especially if associated with ulcers;
- appearance of swelling and tension in the skin of the hands and feet;
- skin rashes associated with joint pain or fever;
- morning stiffness or back pain which worsens in the morning and decreases with physical activity.
Since these symptoms could signal the onset of rheumatic disease, it is good to reduce the risk of long-term complications to a minimum by visiting an allergist when one or more of these symptoms occur.