Rheumatology Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Rheumatology?
Rheumatology is a branch of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases, including arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. It is a specialty field with an emphasis on bone, joint, and muscle problems. Rheumatologists specialize in diagnosing and treating inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, spondyloarthritis, gout, vasculitis syndromes, psoriatic arthritis and other connective tissue diseases. They also treat osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) with medications to reduce pain and inflammation as well as lifestyle modifications.The goal of rheumatology is to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from these conditions through early diagnosis and effective treatments. To accomplish this goal, rheumatologists employ a range of diagnostic tests including blood tests to detect antibodies or markers indicating a specific condition. Imaging studies such as X-rays or ultrasound can be used to get a clearer picture of any damage caused by the disease process. In addition to medical treatments like medications or physical therapy exercises, rheumatologists may recommend lifestyle changes such as diet modifications or exercise programs designed specifically for those living with chronic pain or fatigue associated with their condition. Rheumatic diseases can not only affect joints but also cause systemic symptoms impacting many organs in the body such as skin rashes (cutaneous lupus), lung inflammation (interstitial lung disease), kidney inflammation (glomerulonephritis) or vasculitis affecting vessels throughout the body often leading to strokes or heart attacks. As with all specialties in medicine there is great overlap between conditions which requires careful evaluation by an experienced clinician like a Rheumatologist who understands this complexity. In addition to diagnosing and treating patients already diagnosed with these conditions , Rheumatologists are also involved in clinical research seeking better treatments for these chronic illnesses. Through close collaboration between clinicians , researchers , pharmaceutical companies , patient advocacy groups etc., new medications are being developed which offer hope for those living with this difficult diagnoses. Overall Rhematology emphasizes helping patients live healthy lives despite their condition through education about their medical condition , appropriate medical treatment plans tailored specifically for them including non-pharmacologic interventions when possible combined with ongoing support from healthcare providers.