Rheumatology is a sub-specialty in internal medicine and paediatrics, devoted to the diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic diseases.
Rheumatologists mainly deal with clinical problems involving joints, soft tissues, tendons, muscles, bones and generally inflammations.
The term rheumatology originates from the Greek word rheuma, meaning "that which flows as a river or stream", referring to the pain that goes from one joint to another, and the suffix -ology meaning "the study of."
The most known rheumatologic diseases are:
• Rheumatoid arthritis.
• Soft tissue disorders such as tendinitis and bursitis.
• Autoimmune rheumatic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, vasculitis and osteoporosis.
Rheumatology is a rapidly evolving medical specialty; new scientific discoveries related to this specialty are largely related to better understanding of immunology of these disorders. Pathogenesis of major rheumatologic disorders is now described as autoimmune disorders.
Immunology explains pathogenesis and the characteristics of rheumatologic disorders, and most of the new treatment modalities are based on immunology. Better understanding of genetic bases of rheumatologic disorders makes rheumatology a specialty rapidly developing as a medical specialty based on new scientific discoveries.
Scientific research based on immunology, cytokines, T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes directed more towards targeted therapies of rheumatic diseases. The medical specialist who deals with Rheumatic diseases is the Rheumatologist.