Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology is a super-speciality of medical science which deals with diseases arising out of disturbances in the immune system of the body. Our immune system is meant to protect us (like police safeguarding a city). However when the immune system goes wrong, rather than protecting, it starts damaging the cells and tissues of the body and result in diseases which are broadly known as autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune diseases can range from mild to severe and sometimes fatal diseases. Most of the times it affects multiple systems of the body and therefore to diagnose and treat them properly, a wholesome approach is required. For example, an autoimmune disease can simultaneously affect our skin, joints (causing arthritis), muscles (causing weakness), lung and kidney. Only a well-trained specialist can put these together into perspective and design appropriate therapy for managing the patient.
Unlike previously thought, autoimmune diseases are fairly common. It is just that they are under diagnosed because of low awareness resulting in substantial delay in treatment.
Please consult a specialist (Rheumatologist & Clinical Immunologist) if you think that you are suffering with diseases affecting multiple organs of your body simultaneously.
The following features increase the likelihood of having an autoimmune disease, and especially if you have more than one of these –
3. Oral ulcers
4. Unexplained prolonged fever
5. Unexplained weight loss
7. Excessive sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity)
8. Breathlessness / cough (especially if you have been diagnosed with ILD)
9. Unexplained blackness / gangrene of fingers or toes
10. Color change in the fingers on exposure to cold (fingers becoming pale)
11. Chronic low backache with stiffness
12. Unexplained redness in the eyes (especially if recurrent)
13. Unexplained ulcers over leg
14. Painful nodules, especially if they are red
15. Lack of pulses in hands / feet / neck
16. Unexplained low hemoglobin / platelet / WBC
It is always better to consult a Rheumatologist and Clinical Immunologist if you have ongoing unsorted medical problem!
The following diseases should make you see the specialist –
1. Rheumatoid Arthritis
2. Spondyloarthropathy / Ankylosing spondylitis (SpA or SSA)
3. Reactive arthritis
4. Psoriatic arthritis
6. SLE / Lupus
7. Myositis / dermatomyositis / polymyositis
8. Scleroderma / Systemic sclerosis
9. Sjogren’s syndrome
10. Behcet’s disease
13. Panniculitis / erythema nodosum
15. Anti-phospholipid syndrome
16. MCTD / UCTD