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About rheumatology

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About Rheumatology

The word ‘Rheuma’ has a greek root meaning ‘body humour’. Ancient Greek, Roman and Indian systems of medicine, from which most of modern medicine has arisen, believed that all medical disorders arose from an imbalance of four basic body humours. We now recognise this concept as multi-system disorder. Today ‘Rheumatology’ has become a multidisciplinary branch of medicine that deals with the investigation, diagnosis and management of patients with multisystem diseases. These conditions often include involvement of the musculoskeletal system including bones, joints and muscles. Hippocrates (c 400 BC) and Charaka (c 5th century BC) were ancient proponents of the theory of imbalance of body humours. Charaka in particular, advocated the concept of multidisciplinary medicine and teamwork between nurses and physicians – a paradigm that the BSR holds close to its heart.

The table below illustrates some of the rheumatic diseases affecting the lives of children and adults that are commonly seen by a rheumatologist, nurse or an allied health professional.

Domain Inflammatory Arthritis / Disease Diagnostics and pain management AIRD Bone conditions Rare conditions
Adult pathways Rheumatoid arthritis, Spondyloarthritis, Gout and Crystal Arthritis Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Hypermobility SLE and connective tissue diseases, PMR and Vasculitis, Relapsing Polychondritis Osteoporosis, Paget’s disease, Osteomalacia Periodic fevers, Sarcoidosise, Amyloidosis
Paediatric pathways JIA, Cancer related arthritis, Anterior Uveitis Idiopathic pain syndromes, Biomechanical pain, Heritable disorders of connective tissue Juvenile SLE, Juvenile myositis, Kawasaki disease CRMO, Osteochondoses, Skeletal dysplasias Storage disorders, Graft vs Host disease, Other rare arthropathies


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British Society for Rheumatology
Bride House, 18-20 Bride Lane,
London EC4Y 8EE
T: +44 (0) 20 7842 0900
Company No: 3470316
Charity No: 1067124
VAT No: 404 5637 66

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We are the UK's leading specialist medical society for rheumatology and musculoskeletal professionals, and we welcome applications from all health professionals in these fields.