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What is Rheumatology?

Rheumatology is a branch of medicine devoted to the diagnosis and management of disorders whose common feature is inflammation in the bones, muscles, joints and internal organs. It is a highly specialised field, however it is not well known to many.

There are more than 100 different complex diseases collectively known as rheumatic diseases under Rheumatology.

If you have pains in your joints accompanied by other symptoms such as joint swelling, stiffness, weakness and fatigue you may consider seeing a Rheumatologist. Common conditions treated by a Rheumatologist include Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Vasculitis, Fibromyalgia, Gout, Lupus and related other Connective Tissue Diseases.

If you are diagnosed with a rheumatic condition, the primary goal is to modify the activity of your immune system in order to reduce the inflammation it is causing. It is important to treat the rheumatologic condition as quickly as possible to prevent joint and organ damage.

A rheumatologist usually performs a physical examination and will ask for some blood test and imaging to help make a diagnosis. The rheumatologist will then work out a treatment plan that may include medication, physical therapy, dietary changes and surgery if warranted. A rheumatologist may prescribe disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS), biologic or perform joint aspirations and injections as part of the treatment plan to help.


Dr Shamala K Rajalingam

Consultant in Rheumatology & Internal Medicine

Bahasa Melayu, English, Tamil


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