The Department of Rheumatology and Immunology deals with diseases that affect the immune system. Our scope includes the following:
- Autoimmune disease
Autoimmune diseases occur when one’s own immune cells mount an attack on self-tissue. This is a group of disorders with various possible manifestations. Symptoms occur due to inflammation of the tissue being attacked. Common diseases include: rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, which present with joint swelling and pain, and multi-system disorders in which major organs like the kidneys, lungs and brain may be involved, such as lupus and vasculitis. With currently available medications, most diseases can be well controlled and patients can lead a normal life. Early treatment and monitoring ensures good outcomes.
- Immunodeficiency disease
This group comprises of diseases where the immune system functions inadequately and renders the individual susceptible to infections. Infections occur frequently, in early life and involve unusual micro-organisms. These are rare diseases due to genetic mutations and their diagnosis is often missed. Many patients can be helped by replacing immunoglobulins and treating infections.
- Other musculoskeletal syndromes
Musculoskeletal problems are the most common reason for people in the community to visit their doctors. These may arise from cartilage degeneration due to wear and tear (osteoarthritis) which affects up to 15% of the population. Diseases such as diabetes and chronic kidney disease are themselves associated with peculiar musculoskeletal conditions.
Rheumatologic diseases are multi-systemic and thus our patients are often treated in joint care with medicine, paediatrics, orthopaedic surgery, respiratory medicine, neurology and gastroenterology amongst others. Young women with rheumatologic conditions may have poor pregnancy outcomes and thus we work with obstetrics and gynaecology in this regard.