Rheumatology, more rightly known as Clinical Immunology, is a medical specialty dealing with autoimmune diseases. Immune system has a role to protect the body by attacking the external bacteria, viruses and other infections. But when there is dysfunction of immune system dysfunction it leads to an attack on our own body organs. Joints are the most common organ system affected. This leads to inflammation of joints called arthritis - a condition, where the joint becomes painful, swollen and is difficult to move. When this arthritis persists, it leads to permanent damage of the joints leading to deformity or permanent inability to move the joint. Similarly multiple organs of the body can be involved at a time or sequentially for example skin rash, oral ulcers, hair fall, kidney and lung diseases, inflammation of muscles called myositis etc.
Another form of Immune dysfunction is vasculitis in which, blood vessels are mistakenly attacked, which leads to complete loss of blood supply to the organs or tissues. This results in permanent damage including loss of fingers or toes.
For treating these diseases we need to suppress immunity, thus increasing the risk of infection. To handle this subtle balance between malfunctioning immunity and increased infection rates we require a specialization in this exciting medical science termed as “Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology”.
Goal is to establish an essential comprehensive care for the patients with arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
Vision – Appropriate clinical diagnosis with necessary therapy avoiding unnecessary tests and treatments
Our focus in the clinical practice would be to improve as a bedside clinician and increase formal education of young trainees so that India can foresee a better Rheumatology future.
There is lack of formal Rheumatology education in the medical training. This has led to unnecessary tests and treatment for these patients. There is marked anxiety and stress associated with the diagnosis of autoimmune diseases. Timely and appropriate diagnosis and counseling can help these patients to overcome this stress.