PRECISELY! Same reaction I had when I first heard about it.
Anyone can equate cardiology with the heart, nephrology with the kidneys and endocrinology with diabetes, thyroid conditions, etc. But what is rheumatology?
In local parlance, the word we frequently use is “rayuma“. While many may split hairs over the difference of rayuma vis-a-vis arthritis, the original concept pertains to anything that may present with joint pains. In fact, there are >100 forms of arthritis and rheumatism. Rheumatologist (or, if you prefer, rayuma–tologists), can help you whenever you have joint pains.
Rheumatology, a sub-specialty of internal medicine and pediatrics, focuses on conditions affecting joints, soft tissues and connective tissues. Conditions covered by the field of rheumatology (i.e. rheumatic conditions/ rheumatologic disorders) are often complex, and as such, they benefit from the care of an expert. Rheumatologists diagnose (detect), treat and medically manage patients with health problems affecting the joints, muscles, bones and, sometimes, other internal organs (e.g., kidneys, lungs, blood vessels, brain). Only rheumatologists are experts in this field of medicine.
I am an internist – rheumatologist (in contrast to our colleagues handling children – the pediatric rheumatologist). I am an adult diseases doctor specializing in the diagnosis and management of arthritis, gout, rheumatism, systemic lupus erythematosus and other connective tissue diseases. Several residents (and colleagues) have shared that they find the subspecialty “nebulous ” – I make it a goal then to make sense of the confusion with each chance I get. Patients also have a hard time coming to terms with their rheumatic diseases – I think it’s more important to make them understand what they’re dealing with. Hopefully, I would be able to create the impression that rheumatology is not THAT hard and that people can still remain PRODUCTIVE despite their arthritis, rheumatism or whatever rheumatic disease they have.
This blog is my attempt to curate the latest stories in rheumatology – I’m a bloggero-wannabe. It’s a challenge to keep up when clinics, training and association work occupy most of my time. (Well, there’s also my daily commute but that’s a different story!)
So feel free to look around. And don’t hesitate to leave a comment.