Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology is the medical super-specialty that deals with arthritis and other connective tissue disorders or autoimmune disorders. There are at least 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatism. These include diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, gout, still's disease, post infectious arthritis & other connective tissue disorder like systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis, sjogren's syndrome, sarcoidosis; myositis like polymyositis, dermatomyositis; rare autoimmune disorders,etc.
Patient suffering from joint pain with or without swelling in joints (hands/wrist/elbow/ shoulder/knee ankle & feet) or pain over back or neck, with early morning stiffness should see a rheumatologist. Also if a patient is having any of the symptoms like recurrent fever, rash, photosensitivity, recurrent painful oral ulcers, reddish or bluish discoloration of hands especially in winters, severe dryness of mouth or eyes, non- healing ulcers with or without joint pains, then also he/she should consult a rheumatologist. Few of these are chronic and disabling type if not treated early and properly (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis). Some diseases can even be life-threatening (e.g. lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis, vasculitis etc.) if not diagnosed or not treated optimally particularly at the time of flare.