Arthritis & Rheumatic Conditions
By some estimates, 52 million people in the United States suffer from arthritis and rheumatic conditions. This number is expected to reach 60 million over the next several years and affects people of all races and ages.
Some arthritis and rheumatic conditions are termed “systemic autoimmune diseases” caused by a malfunction of the immune system. The immune system's normal function is to protect the body against infection by attacking invading organisms such as bacteria or viruses. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system gets “confused” and mounts an attack against the body’s own tissues which may cause red, swollen joints or inflamed connective tissues such as cartilage, synovial tissue, and tendons. In some cases, inflammation can damage the body's internal organs such as the skin, kidneys, lungs, liver and even the brain.
Rheumatologists receive 2-3 years of specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases. The earlier you are diagnosed and treated, the earlier you can reduce your chance for pain and disability and live an active and healthy life.