WHAT IS RHEUMATOLOGY
Rheumatology is the medical specialty that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal and systemic autoimmune diseases. It is one of the specialties that has experienced most advances in diagnosis and treatment in recent years.
There are more than 200 rheumatic diseases and they can affect any age range, from children to the elderly. As a whole, these pathologies affect one in four adults in Spain. They are the second cause of consultation, after acute respiratory infections, in Primary Care and the first cause of disability in our environment. In addition, musculoskeletal diseases are the ones that deteriorate people’s quality of life the most, above lung and heart diseases.
Musculoskeletal diseases affect bones, muscles and joints, as well as the tissues surrounding them, and can cause pain, inflammation, stiffness, limitation of movement and deformity. On the other hand, systemic autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, scleroderma or dermatomyositis, can affect any organ of the body, such as the kidneys, lung, skin, heart or brain.
The importance of having a primary care rheumatologist if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
To confirm the diagnosis, the clinical picture is of utmost relevance.
“Early diagnosis is important to start early treatment and prevent the progression of joint damage, they are systemic diseases and you can prevent the immune system from damaging organs outside the joints. The idea is to slow down, to stop the process of joint damage to avoid deformities and improve the patient’s quality of life.
Rheumatoid arthritis shows up in its early stages with joint pain and redness of the joints.
“He gets up with stiffness, he can’t even brush his mouth. It takes more than an hour and a half to start engaging in the activities of the day, so he warms up. He is limited by pain and swelling, may experience fever and heat, as if he has monga, and feeling terribly tired. They become depressed because they cannot work. They cannot do even the simplest everyday things, such as feeding the children, driving to work. These elements will aggravate and if they are not taken care of, they will get worse.
Treatment options include analgesics, anti-inflammatories and three types of modulators: traditional, biologic and molecular.
The rheumatologist’s goal is for the patient “to have a life as before the disease, to be able to carry out his functions and develop in his work. He wants the patient to have a healthy, productive and comfortable life”.