|Rheumatology Doctors - Rheumatologist: 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:
scleroderma (systemic sclerosis),
giant cell arteritis,
Kawasaki's disease (mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome),
Buerger's disease (thromboangiitis obliterans).
Apart from an extensive medical history and physical examination, a rheumatologist may apply the following diagnostic methods:
Laboratory tests (e.g. erythrocyte sedimentation rate, rheumatoid factor),
X-rays of affected joints and other imaging methods,
Cytology and chemical pathology of fluid aspirated from affected joints (e.g. to differentiate between septic arthritis and gout).
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.