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Rheumatology

Overview

Department of Rheumatology

Rheumatology is the study of Rheumatism, which is generally associated with pain in the joints. But rheumatic diseases are far more serious and crippling. They are inflammatory and often autoimmune, which means that the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue affecting the musculoskeletal system, which includes joints, muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Immediate symptoms are joint pain, difficulty in movement, stiffness, and inflammation, and can be accompanied by fatigue, fever, and weight loss. Some of the more common rheumatic disorders are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Gout, Scleroderma, Infectious Arthritis, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, and Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

Continental Hospitals in Hyderabad is a hub for some of the best Rheumatologists in Hyderabad.  Qualified from some of the most prestigious institutes, they are trained at premier facilities, experienced and skilled at their practice. Not only do they offer consultations and continued treatment plans, but also preoperative evaluations and recommendations for patients considering joint replacement and related reconstructive surgeries. Their efforts are complemented by those of the support staff and together they partner your efforts towards leading a life of normalcy. They educate and inform you, guide you, give you personalized care and assistance alongside the treatment. Being abreast of the very latest in their fields, they can bring to you the latest methods of treatment. The state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatment centre ensures that the entire process from diagnosis to cure is under one roof, thus ensuring that Continental Hospitals is the best hospital for the treatment of rheumatoid diseases in Hyderabad.

Rheumatology is not a one-time incident. It is a long-term disorder and requires a lot of hand-holding by the rheumatologist. Your rheumatologist will examine you to diagnose your condition, and then oversee a treatment plan for you that will likely include medications, regular exercise, a healthy diet, stress management, and a host of aspects. A good rheumatologist can make a world of difference. Our physicians are highly qualified from the most premier institutes in the country. They have access to global trends and keep abreast of the latest in their fields. They are highly experienced and precision in diagnosis comes easily to them. There is no better place than Continental Hospitals to find the best rheumatologists in Hyderabad.

Diagnosis is very crucial and superior diagnostic machines do make an impact. Continental Hospitals have a state-of-the-art diagnostic centre that is fully geared for that. They have dedicated maintenance staff to make sure their downtime is negligible. The treatment is long-drawn, is handled by experienced physicians. They can escalate the treatment right until surgery, all under one roof and in consultation with the best minds.

The Rheumatologist is not alone in his hand holding the patient. He has an equally capable team to support his efforts. They are experienced, qualified, caring, sensitive, dedicated and sincere to the cause and their efforts can go a long way in the comfort of the patient. With all these factors in mind, it can be claimed that Continental Hospitals is the very best hospital for the treatment of rheumatoid diseases in Hyderabad.

  • How is rheumatoid disease diagnosed?

Early symptoms can be misleading since they mimic those of other diseases and therefore diagnosing rheumatism is not easy, especially when it is in its early stages. There is no single blood test or physical finding that confirms the diagnosis. The physician will start by taking a full medical history of the patient and the family. Besides an initial basic physical examination for any swelling, redness, and warmth especially in the joints, and reflexes of muscles, a battery of tests can work towards an exact diagnosis. Experienced physicians and excellent diagnostics together make Continental Hospitals the best place for the treatment of rheumatic diseases in Hyderabad.

  1. Blood tests - Rheumatoid arthritis is often revealed by an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, or sed rate) or C-reactive protein (CRP) that indicates the presence of an inflammatory process in the body. Looking for the rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies is a common route to the diagnosis.
  2. Biopsy-Sometimes the physician may draw fluid from the affected joint and send it for a biopsy.
  3. Imaging tests - X-rays, After the onset of the disease, X-rays are recommended to help track the advancement of rheumatism in your joints.
  4.  Ultrasound: It is a test to detect the severity of the disease.
  5. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): These are done at the time of diagnosis and later to track the advancement of the disease.
  • How Doctors Diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?

There is no single test that can diagnose RA. A combination of factors and test results together confirms it. It depends on the expertise of the doctor too. Continental Hospitals is certainly one lace to seek the best rheumatologists in Hyderabad. 

  • What are the Common Blood Tests done to diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The following blood tests are done to detect Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  1. Antinuclear antibody (ANA) Doctors look for certain proteins that show up in your blood when you have RA. These proteins mistakenly target healthy cells and kick off the inflammation process. So a high or positive test result means inflammation is in your body
  2. Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCP)
  3. Complete blood count:It helps your doctor find anemia (low red blood cells), which is common in RA
  4. C-reactive protein (CRP): This test measures levels of a protein your liver makes when inflammation is present
  5. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate:This measures how fast your red blood cells clump/coagulate and fall to the bottom of a glass tube within an hour. Your doctor might call it a sed rate.
  6. Rheumatoid factor(RF)
  • What is Rheumatoid Factor Blood Test?

Symptoms of RA, such as pain, swelling, and stiff joints, may prompt a physician to use the rheumatoid factor blood test to help diagnose it. A simple blood test will measure the rheumatoid factor. The Rh factor an antibody which it is present will indicate if the patient has rheumatoid arthritis. Antibodies are present when harmful substances are detected. But a high Rh factor does not confirm RA as sometimes it is also present in people with other immune system conditions or even healthy people. The physician will have to conduct other tests before confirming it. But even if the test results show you have a high level of it, your doctor will want to do other tests before he makes a diagnosis. He will also examine you and may order other types of lab tests, such as X-rays, an MRI, an ultrasound, or other scans.

There is no reason to feel dejected or worried for a patient detected with rheumatism. Agreed that there is no cure yet, but with time pole suffering from RA have been able to lead far better lives than ever before. It is all about managing your symptoms and striking a balance. A multi-pronged approach goes a long way towards that, and your physician will handhold you till you can.

Medicines: Several types of medicines - primarily pain killers and anti-inflammatory. There are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and disease-modifying drugs.

Weight-management: Effort to lessen the stress on your joints is made. Weight loss programs can be chalked out unless the patient can maintain weight healthy levels.  Lower Some rest at intervals is essential but not too much. Remaining moderately active is helpful. Walkers or canes can be used to help the patient while walking. The physician may recommend simple exercises.

Surgery: The final option especially if the joints have got damaged. Total joint replacement surgeries of all the load-bearing joints are possible like knees, hips, wrists, and elbows. Many other less invasive surgeries are also done.

What causes rheumatic disease?

Rheumatic disorders are autoimmune and occur when the immune system attacks the lining of the membranes that surround your joints, called the synovium, causing inflammation. With this inflammation, the synovium thickens and can eventually destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint. Tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together, weaken and get stretched. With time the joint loses its shape and alignment. The exact cause of this process is not known. Genetics is the most likely explanation as of now. Genes, even if they do not cause the disease, can make you more susceptible to environmental factors.

  • What are the common rheumatic disorders?

Over 200 diseases can be classified as rheumatic as they affect the musculoskeletal system. Some of them are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Ankylosing Spondylitis, Gout, Scleroderma, Psoriatic Arthritis, Infectious Arthritis, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Reactive Arthritis. They are discussed below.

Osteoarthritis

Age, injury, and obesity are the chief causes of Osteoarthritis (OA) and its onset is indicated by pain and stiffness in the joints. Treatment usually includes medication, exercise, weight control and surgery as a last resort. Read more

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder and is caused when the body’s defense mechanism targets the linings of joints. It affects both joints as a set and this symmetry sets it apart from other types of arthritis. Eventually, it can also affect the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood, or nerves. There is no treatment to RA but a holistic approach can help manage it better. Read more

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

Like RA this too is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system of the body attacks its tissues and organs in the bargain affecting many different body systems including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. Diagnosing SLE is difficult since the symptoms have an overlap with other diseases. But very often a rash on both the cheeks in the shape of butterfly wings, called flares, is a giveaway. Causes of SLE are not known but it is considered to be triggered by infections, certain drugs or even sunlight. Treatments are not available and the disease has to be managed well. Read more

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

AS is a type of arthritis that essentially affects the spine, although other joints can get affected too. Inflammation of spinal joints can lead to severe pain and discomfort. Again, causes that have not been confirmed through genetics are considered most probable. Those having the HLA-B27 gene are most likely to get it. Read more

Gout: A complex form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, flares, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe. It can affect anybody. Gout attacks can catch the patient by surprise, waking up the patient in the middle of the night with severe flares and pain. Gout symptoms may come and go, but there are ways to manage symptoms and prevent flares. Read more

Scleroderma: A group of rare diseases Scleroderma involves the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues. Scleroderma results from an overproduction and accumulation of collagen in body tissues. Collagen is a fibrous type of protein that makes up your body’s connective tissues, including your skin. Women are more susceptible to it and its most common occurrence is between the ages of 30 and 50. It has no cure and has to be managed well. There are many different types of scleroderma and in some types, it harms tissues such as blood vessels, internal organs and the digestive tract (systemic scleroderma). Signs and symptoms vary, depending on which type of scleroderma you have. It starts with hardening and tightening of oval or straight-line patches of skin that cover areas of the trunk and limbs. Accompanied with this is Raynaud’s disease, in which small blood vessels in fingers and toes contract in cold temperatures or emotional distress. When this happens, your fingers or toes may turn blue or feel painful or numb. Raynaud’s disease also occurs in people who don’t have scleroderma. Read more

Psoriatic Arthritis: This is a form of arthritis that affects some of those who have psoriasis – a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Usually, psoriasis occurs first. Joint pain, stiffness flares, and inflammation are its main symptoms. It has no cure and the patient should focus on limiting its advance.

Infectious Arthritis: Also called septic arthritis, infectious arthritis is an infection of the joint accompanied by a lot of pain. Germs causing the infection could be internal and transferred by blood or external when germs get injected into the joint through a penetrating injury. Symptoms are those of arthritis along with a fever. Prompt treatment is crucial and the infection needs to be checked. Draining the joint with a needle or surgically and antibiotics are modes of treatment.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Arthritis that affects children causing persistent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. In some cases the symptoms will last only a few months, while in others it may persist for the rest of their lives, causing debilitating effects such as growth problems, joint damage, and eye inflammation. Treatment is about keeping pain and inflammation in check, improving function, and preventing joint damage.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica: Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disorder, rarely affecting people under 50, which cause muscle pain and stiffness, especially in the shoulders. It is at its worst in the morning. This condition is related to giant cell arteritis, another inflammatory disease, that causes headaches, vision difficulties, jaw pain, and scalp tenderness. Both conditions can occur together.

Reactive ArthritisReactive arthritis is joint pain and inflammation triggered by an infection in the intestines, genitals or urinary tract. It usually targets your knees and the joints of your ankles and feet. Inflammation also can affect your eyes, skin, and urethra. Previously, reactive arthritis was sometimes called Reiter’s syndrome, which was characterized by eye, urethra and joint inflammation. Reactive arthritis isn’t common. For most people, signs, and symptoms come and go, eventually disappearing within 12 months.

With so many conditions being treated in one facility, it makes Continental Hospitals the best place to seek treatment of rheumatoid diseases in Hyderabad.

Medications

No medication can check the overproduction of collagen that is characteristic of scleroderma. But a variety of medications can help control scleroderma symptoms and prevent complications. Skin changes can be treated or slowed down with steroid creams, pills may help reduce swelling and joint pain, loosen stiff skin, and slow down new changes in the skin. Blood pressure medications that dilate blood vessels could prevent lung and kidney problems and treat Raynaud's disease. Drugs that suppress the immune system, such as those taken after organ transplants, may help reduce scleroderma symptoms. Oral medicines to reduce stomach acid can help relieve heartburn. Antibiotics and medications help move food through the intestines and reduce bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Antibiotic ointment, cleaning, and protection from the cold may help prevent infection of fingertip ulcers caused by Raynaud's disease. Regular influenza and pneumonia vaccinations can help protect lungs damaged by scleroderma. Medication to relieve pain is frequently taken. Physiotherapies to manage pain, improve strength and mobility are recommended. Occupational therapy to maintain independence in daily activities is essential. Surgery is the last resort and is amputation if finger sores caused by severe Raynaud's disease are so bad that fingertip tissue begins to die. Lung transplants are done for patients with severe lung problems. Continental Hospitals is one of the best hospitals for the treatment of Scleroderma in Hyderabad.

Continental Hospitals, Hyderabad is a hi-tech facility that has attracted some of the best talents from the country, making it the best hospital for Rheumatology in Hyderabad. As we have seen in the diagnostic section of this page, every nuance of any health condition can be diagnosed with our machines. Even then, diagnosis is so obscure and difficult. Rheumatology consultants harness this technology to its best but in the end, it is their acumen that deduces the exact diagnosis. Being trained at leading global facilities, our Rheumatologists are skilled at the use of these machines in their diagnosis and treatment. They understand that Rheumatology needs a lot of long-term treatment and therefore a lot of handholding of the patient. Their empathy and expertise together give unmatched service to patients. Their knowledge of the subject is unmatched in depth and width. Their trained minds can detect any flaw in the system, can foretell the onset of any condition and can restore you to the best possible levels with their healing. It is they who make Continental Hospitals in Hyderabad the best hospital for the treatment of rheumatoid diseases.

Dr Aruna Sree Malipeddi

MBBS, MRCP (Rheumatalogy) (UK), CCT (UK), EULAR (Rheumatology)

Consultant Rheumatologist

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