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Rheumatism is a popular term for chronic pain that applies to a variety of diseases that cause pain, stiffness and limitation of motion of joints, bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. These disorders are marked by inflammation, degeneration or metabolic derangement of the connective tissue structures involved.

A rheumatologist is a specialist in treating the musculoskeletal disease (muscle, bone, joint specialist). The role of the rheumatologist is to diagnose (detect), treat and medically manage patients with Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. These health ailments affect the joints, muscles, bones and sometimes other internal organs (e.g., kidneys, lungs, blood vessels, brain). Because these diseases are often complex, patient benefit from the case of an expert. Many rheumatologists conduct research to determine the cause of and better treatments for these disabling and sometimes fatal diseases.

A rheumatologist is a specialist trained to diagnose, treat and manage various of musculoskeletal problems. As rheumatic diseases including most forms of Arthritis can be managed well by medicines, the rheumatologist does it mostly with medication. Surgeons who specialize in surgery of bones/joints are called orthopedic surgeons. Most patients with Arthritis frequently require a Rheumatologist and an orthopedic surgeon occasionally.

Rheumatologists treat all forms of arthritis, autoimmune diseases, musculokeletal pain disorders and osteoporosis. There are over 140 types of these diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, back pain, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Some of these are very serious diseases that can be difficult to diagnose and treat.

If the person is suffering from any of the below symptoms, he/she might be having Rheumatic Diseases.

  • Joint pains and swellings
  • Severe joint pains and stiffness in the morning
  • Severe back pains and stiffness in the morning
  • Unexplained generalized body pains
  • Recurrent mouth ulcers/hair loss
  • Dryness of mouth/eyes, red rashes on cheeks
  • Recurrent heel pains
  • Prolonged unexplained fevers after detailed work up by physicians
  • Wounds on skin not healing over a period of time, suspected to be due to vasculitis referred by a surgeon and physician
  • Persistent problems regarding abortions referred after primary work up by a Gynaecologist
  • Recurrent uveitis after primary work up by an ophthalmologist
  • Unexplained pulmonary renal syndromes at primary care level

While arthralgia is the term used for joint pain, Arthritis refers to inflammation (pain & swelling) of the joints. Swollen joints can be painful, stiff and can effect the mobility. Arthralgia can be the result of a disease, infection or injury or a symptom of Arthritis.

Arthritis is a symptom which could result from several joint diseases. The most common type of Arthritis is Degenerative Arthritis; the prototype of which is Osteoarthritis that effects the knees, hands and hip. The other group is called Inflammatory Arthritis, the prototype of which is Rheumatoid Arthritis. Children also suffer from various types of Arthritis.

Determining the cause of Arthritis can be difficult, because often several factors, such as age, illness or infection, body weight, previous injury, etc., contribute to an individual developing this problem. The degenerative forms are mainly due to ‘wear and tear’. Arthritis is also due to one’s own poorly controlled defense system.

There is a common misconception amongst people that Arthritis runs in the family. This is always not true. It often arises sporadically without any family history.

Most types of Arthritis, if not adequately treated by modern medication may definitely lead to deformities. Effective treatment is required at an early stage to prevent these deformities.

There is no scientific basis regarding food causing Arthritis, except gout, where patients are advised to have low purine diet, avoid alcohol, red meat, beans, mushroom etc. So no diet changes are required for most patients.

Some patients find their Arthritis worsening in cold weather, while others during the rainy season. However, temperature / climate does not influence the course of Arthritis.

Usually it does not effect the sex life. However, Arthritis of some areas like the spine and hip may necessitate change in postures.

Sitting on the floor is stressful for knee joints. Arthritis patients are advised to avoid squatting, sitting cross legged and climbing as far as possible. Indian style lavatories should also be avoided.

Most Arthritis patients can walk, exercise or jog within reasonable limits, Yoga in general does not harm Arthritis patients and can be carried along with other medicines. However, certain yogic postures can be avoided as they can put excessive strain on the joints. It is best to consult a trained physiotherapist for this purpose.

Yes, at present there is treatment for the symptoms of Arthritis that help in managing pain and joint damage. These involve dietary changes, drugs and in some cases exercise.

Looking after Arthritis requires team work. Apart from the rheumatologists, other members of the team include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists and a counselor.

We at Arthritis & Osteoporosis Clinic are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of all patients with diseases of the joints such as Arthritis; bone diseases such as Osteoporosis; soft tissue diseases such as tendonitis and auto immune diseases such as Lupus and Scleroderma. Diseases treated by us include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteo-Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Acute Rheumatic Fever, Reactive Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Infection related Arthritis, Sjogren Syndrome, Vasculitis, Systemic Sclerosis, Gout, Seronegative Spondyloarthropathies, Osteomalacia, Rickets & Various types of metabolic bone diseases, Chikangunya Arthritis/Viral Arthritis, Polymyositis, Fibromyalgia and all types of Arthralgias & Arthritis.

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