A rheumatologist is a physician who specializes in the field of rheumatology. This branch of medicine deals with the diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic diseases. This field is a sub-specialty that falls under internal medicine. There are a number of diseases and disorders that can be classified as rheumatic diseases. More than a 100 kind of diseases and disorders that can cause patients to become bed-bound. Some of them are:
- Joint problems, including osteoporosis
- Soft tissue disorders
- Autoimmune diseases
- Heritable connective tissue disorders
- Other immune system disorders
It is found that many of the diseases and disorders under this field are related to the immune system. It is because of this reason that progress of this field has caused an increased interest in the study of the immune system, otherwise known as immunology.
To diagnose the root cause of the problem, a rheumatologist will start with a detailed medical history of the patient and then conduct a physical examination. In many cases, the physician will also prescribe medical tests for more accurate diagnosis. Some of them are X-rays, ultrasound, cytopathology, chemical pathology and other laboratory tests that do a full-work up on samples.
After diagnosis, a rheumatologist is likely to prescribe medication and also multiple kinds of therapies to overcome the problems. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy are common examples a rheumatologist would prescribe to help patients resume everyday life who would otherwise be bed-bound. Treatments would differ from patient to patient as per their need and the progress of their disease. Rheumasurgery is also an important part of rheumatology.