I’m Dr. Chapman a rheumatologist in Albany NY. Now what is a rheumatologist? It’s not about joints or muscles. Rheumatologists treat autoimmune diseases. Rheumatology is a branch of medicine that treats the immune system when it starts attacking itself. The immune system is that ethereal part of your body that protects you from bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Believe it or not, it even protects you against cancer. You can live without your appendix, but you definitely cannot live without your immune system.
What are autoimmune diseases?
As I mentioned, rheumatology is a branch of medicine that deals with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. These are diseases where the immune system loses the ability to recognize “Self” and then starts to attack the organs it should protect. Imagine your body is a country and your immune system is made up of the National Guard and the police. The National Guard protects the country from foreign invaders and the police protects the country from domestic trouble makers. When an autoimmune disease happens, it’s as if both the National Guard and the police start attacking the citizens in the country.
Autoimmune diseases come in all sorts of flavors, +100 different flavors. You know how it’s never lupus (this is my one and only reference to House). Guess what? In my world sometimes it is lupus!
What is a rheumatologist?
A rheumatologist is a doctor who specifically treats many different types of autoimmune diseases. Some of these diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and scleroderma to name a few. Rheumatologists receive specialized training to diagnose and treat these diseases using medications that help change and sometimes suppress the immune suppress.
Why should you care?
I think these stats are especially noteworthy?
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that up to 23.5 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease. And we think this number is actually rising.
- Autoimmune disease is one of the top leading causes of death in female children and women in all age groups up to 64 years of age.
- That autoimmune diseases are typically chronic and that they can cause pain, disability and even death, particularly if not detected at an early stage.
My pledge to you
- I want to translate quality evidence-based medical information, into easy to understand language.
- I want to help you understand autoimmune diseases: how they work, how they look like, and how you treat them.
- I want to help you potentially detect autoimmune conditions at a really early stage.
- Finally, if you already suffer from an autoimmune condition, I want to help you understand your body and how your autoimmune disease affects you.
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