What Is Rheumatology

A rheumatologist is an internist who has undergone additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of special types of arthritis and autoimmune disease. Rheumatologists treat arthritis, certain autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorders, and osteoporosis. Some of these conditions may be treated effectively by a primary care physician, while others require a rheumatologist.  There are more than 100 types of these diseases, including rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, gout, lupus, sjogren’s, osteoporosis, and tendonitis. Some of these illnesses are very serious diseases that can be difficult to diagnose and treat while others are common, routine musculoskeletal conditions.  The correct diagnosis begins with a detailed history, physical exam, and, in some instances, special studies.  Rheumatologists understand how overwhelming and challenging it can be for the patient to figure out their illness.  With an accurate diagnosis, there are many specialized therapies for inflammatory arthritis and connective tissue disorders that require careful management under a rheumatologist for safe, effective outcomes.