RMDs are a diverse group of diseases that commonly affect the joints, but can affect any organ of the body. There are more than 200 different RMDs, affecting both children and adults. They are usually caused by problems of the immune system, inflammation, infections, or gradual deterioration of joints, muscles, and bones. Many of these diseases are long term and worsen over time. They are typically painful and limit function. In severe cases, RMDs can result in significant disability, having a major impact on both quality of life and life expectancy.
A rheumatologist is an internist or pediatrician who received further training in the diagnosis (detection) and treatment of musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions commonly referred to as rheumatic diseases.
Treating our patients takes a team. Pharmacists, nurses and physical therapists, to mention a few, are needed to provide care to our patients. Not only do these health professionals treat patients, they help advocate and inform politicians that proper treatments and medications can make the difference between staying a productive member of society or becoming disabled or even dying. Support groups can provide meaningful information and social support.
In many parts of the world, even including the United States and Western Europe, there is a shortage of rheumatologists but in resource poor areas, this shortage is tragic. For instance, Ethiopia, a country of over 100 million, does not have a practicing adult rheumatologist. Ethiopia has many medical schools, nursing schools, etc. but no one to teach rheumatology. As a result there is a lack of access to care. Your donation will allow local physicians the opportunity to become trained in rheumatology and return to their home countries to train other physicians and advocate for their patients and treat the local population. In this way people in resource limited areas will have the opportunity to have their illness and conditions treated.
American College of Rheumatology
The Myositis Association
Spondylitis Association of America
The Lupus Initiative