Rheumatology is a sub-specialty in internal medicine and pediatrics, devoted to diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic diseases. Clinicians who specialize in rheumatology are called rheumatologists. Rheumatologists deal mainly with clinical problems involving joints, soft tissues, autoimmune diseases, vasculitis, and heritable connective tissue disorders.
Rheumatology is a rapidly evolving medical specialty, with advancements owing largely to new scientific discoveries related to immunology of these disorders. Because characteristics of some rheumatological disorders are often best explained by immunology, pathogenesis of many major rheumatological disorders are now described in terms of the autoimmune system, i.e. 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 basis of rheumatological disorders. Future treatment may include gene therapy as well. At present evidence-based medical treatment of rheumatological disorders has helped patients with rheumatism lead a near-normal life.
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