Rheumatologists are physicians who specialize in rheumatology, the branch of medicine that deals in the treatment of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases that may affect joints, muscles, bones, skin, and other tissues.
Arthritis and rheumatic diseases can affect anyone at any age. The cause of most types of rheumatic diseases remains unknown, but doctors believe that some or all of the following may play a role in the development or aggravation of the diseases:
- genetics and family history
- lifestyle choices
- neurogenic disturbances
- metabolic disturbances
- excessive wear and tear and stress on a joint(s)
- environmental triggers
- the influence of certain hormones on the body
Examples of rheumatic diseases and their symptoms are:
- Osteoarthritis – the most common type of arthritis. It primarily affects the cartilage, which begins to fray, wear, and decay. In extreme cases the cartilage wears away entirely, and due to only bone-to-bone joints, bony spurs are formed at the edges of the joints. Symptoms include joint pain, reduced joint motion, loss of function, and disability.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – an inflammatory disease of the lining of the joint, mainly joints of the hands and feet, and tends to occur equally on both sides of the body. This symmetry helps distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from other types of arthritis. Symptoms are pain, stiffness, swelling, deformity, and loss of function in the joints.
- Fibromyalgia – a chronic disorder that causes pain and stiffness throughout the tissues that support and move the bones and joints. Symptoms include widespread pain and fatigue; localized tender points in the muscles and tendons, particularly those of the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips.
- Systematic lupus erythematosus (also known as lupus and SLE) – an autoimmune disease in which the immune system harms the body's own healthy cells and tissues. This results in the inflammation and damage to the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain.
- Scleroderma (also known as sclerosis) – it affects the skin, blood vessels, and joints. A more serious form also affects internal organs such as the lungs and kidneys. In this condition, there is an abnormal and excessive production of collagen (a fiber-like protein) in the skin or internal organs.
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis – the most common type of arthritis in children. Symptoms are pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in the joints. Sometimes there are rashes and fever as well.
- Ankylosing spondylitis – the disease in which the tendons and ligaments around the bones and joints in the spine become inflamed, resulting in pain and stiffness, especially in the lower back.
- Gout – this results from deposits of needle-like crystals of uric acid in the connective tissue, joint spaces, or both. Symptoms are inflammation, swelling, and pain in the affected joint. The joint most commonly affected is the big toe.
- Infectious arthritis – a general term used to describe forms of arthritis that are caused by infectious agents, such as bacteria or viruses.
- Reactive arthritis (also known as Reiter's syndrome) – develops after an infection involving the lower urinary tract, bowel, or other organs, commonly associated with eye problems, skin rashes, and mouth sores.
- Psoriatic arthritis – occurs in patients with psoriasis. It affects the joints at the ends of the fingers and is accompanied by changes in the fingernails and toenails.
- Bursitis – inflammation of the bursae (small, fluid-filled sacs that help reduce friction between bones and other moving structures in the joints). Symptoms are pain and tenderness and may limit the movement of nearby joints as well.
- Tendonitis – inflammation of the tendons caused by overuse, injury, or related rheumatic conditions. Symptoms include pain and tenderness and may restrict movement of nearby joints.
If, during your stay in Oahu, you feel you have any of the symptoms given above for the rheumatic diseases, please do not ignore them. Contact a rheumatologist as soon as possible. For your convenience, a list of rheumatologists in Oahu has been compiled for you by Oahu.us.
1329 Lusitana St # 206
888 S King St
1319 Punahou St # 761
1520 Liliha St # 701
321 N Kuakini St # 814
550 S Beretania St
2228 Liliha St # 104
98-1079 Moanalua Rd # 300