The Rheumatology Service at CMC offers consultative diagnostic and therapeutic services for outpatients and inpatients with joint disorders and soft tissue injuries.
What is Rheumatology?
Rheumatology is the treatment of joint and muscle diseases and the systemic (diffuse and/or generalized) inflammation in the human body. Rheumatism, or rheumatic diseases, can involve any organ including but not limited to the joints, muscles, blood vessels, skin, kidneys, liver, eyes, and brain. It usually starts with mild articular pain and stiffness at night and in the morning hours. When left untreated or when treated by non-rheumatologists, it can lead to permanent damage of the articulations and involvement of the deeper organs. In severe cases, rheumatism can lead to the inability to walk and sometimes even death.
The etiology is not clear, but the most agreed theory is that a dysfunction in the immune system turns against the organs, rather than protecting the body from viruses and bacteria, and causes inflammation, pain and damage.
How is Rheumatism treated?
The treatment depends on the stage the patient has reached. At first the treatment consists of oral medications that modulate the immune system. However, patients should be attentive to not accept a treatment based solely on pain medications and simple anti-inflammatories, as they mask the pain and do not prevent joint destruction and cause permanent damage.
The more advanced cases are treated with a combination of more than one medication.
Patients whose conditions progress rapidly and cause significant swelling and pain might need self-injectable or infusible medications beside the pills. The self-injectable medications are engineered to be self administered, while the infusible medications are administered at the hospital in the same-day unit, which means the patient comes to the hospital and leaves a few hours later; there is no need to stay overnight. Until the patients’ body gets accustomed to the treatment, it is recommended that patients do not work the day of infusion as the treatment can cause fatigue. Those infusions are done every, 4, 6, 8, 16, or 24 weeks depending on the medication, and the Rheumatologist will explain the medication’s instructions to the patients.
During a patient’s visit to the Rheumatology clinic at CMC, the rheumatologist could perform an injection of a joint if it is inflamed and not responding to the treatment. It is usually done to prevent the inflammation from causing joint destruction. The medications (corticosteroid + anesthetic) reach the inflamed tissue directly and thus the injection is highly effective. The patient can expect pain and a burning sensation after the injection because the volume of medications used presses on the muscle and nerve fibers. This usually resolves within 24 hours and the improvement starts happening at this time.
To schedule an appointment with a Rheumatologist please call the hotline 1240 or +961 1 372888 on extension 5300-5310 or request an appointment online.