Rheumatology is a branch of medicine which deals with multi-system connective tissue diseases like Vasculitis, SLE, Systemic Sclerosis, Polymyositis, Sjogren’s syndrome, etc. and joint diseases like post-infectious Reactive arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Gout, and other inflammatory arthritis. Metabolic bone diseases like osteomalacia, osteoporosis, chronic musculoskeletal pain disorders like chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia etc are also dealt with by a rheumatologist. Accurate diagnosis is very important in patients of joint diseases as many patients of Osteoarthritis (a degenerative disease) are mostly wrongly treated as Rheumatoid and vice-versa.

Any patient suffering from joint pain with or without swelling in joints (hands/ wrist/ elbow/ shoulder/ knee ankle and feet) or pain over back or neck, with early morning stiffness should see a rheumatologist. Also if a patient has symptoms like recurrent fever, rash, photosensitivity, recurrent painful oral ulcers, reddish or bluish discoloration of hands especially in winters, dryness of mouth or eyes, non- healing ulcers, unexplained weight loss or deranged organ function he/she should consult a rheumatologist. Some of these are the chronic and disabling type if not treated early and properly (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis). Some diseases can even be life-threatening (e.g. lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis, vasculitis etc.) if not diagnosed timely or not treated optimally.

Dr. Punit Pruthi (M.D), Senior Consultant (Internal medicine and Rheumatology) at Asian is handling all sorts of rheumatology patients including seriously ill critical patients and has vast experience and expertise in this field. Intra-articular injections (inside the joints) are also administered routinely and latest therapeutic regimes including administration of biological therapy (like Infliximab, Rituximab, etc.) are being followed.

Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors