Rheumatology is a sub-specialty in internal medicine and paediatrics, devoted to the diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic diseases. Clinicians who specialize in rheumatology are called Rheumatologists. Rheumatologists deal mainly with clinical problems involving joints, soft tissues and the allied conditions of connective tissues.
The term ''rheumatology'' originates from the Greek word ''rheuma'', meaning "that which flows as a river or stream," and the suffix ''-ology'', meaning "the study of." Rheumatology is a rapidly evolving medical specialty, with advancements owing largely to new scientific discoveries about the immunology of these disorders.
Because the characteristics of rheumatological disorders are best explained by immunology, the pathogenesis of every major rheumatological disorder is now described in terms of the autoimmune system, viz., as an autoimmune disease. Correspondingly, most new treatment modalities are also based on clinical research in immunology and the resulting improved understanding of the genetic bases of rheumatological disorders.
Future treatment may include gene therapy, as well. Evidence-based medical treatment of rheumatological disorders has helped patients with rheumatism lead a near normal life.
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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011