At the European Medical Centre comprehensive diagnosis and treatment is carried out for:
· Severe and chronic arthritis: rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Reiter’s syndrome, uratic arthritis, chondrocalcinosis, Behterev disease and osteoarthritis;
· Systemic diseases of connective tissue: systemic lupus erythematosus, systemis scleroderma, dermatomyositis and Sjogren’s syndrome;
· Systemic vasculites: polyarteritis nodosa, Churg-Strauss syndrome, microscopic polyarteritis, temporal arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatic, Wegener’s granulomatosis, acute vascular purpura, autopathic cryoglobulinemia, Takayasu disease and other inflammatory diseases of the blood vessels;
· Various types of osteoporosis.
When conducting diagnoses, a full set of the necessary modern laboratory and instrumental methods (CT, MRT, X-Ray and Ultrasound) are used and if required, cell biopsies may be taken to undergo further anatomical investigation.
Treatment involves a wide range of effective methods, medicinal and non-medicinal means, which comply with modern requirements for treating patients with rheumatic diseases. If there are adverse effects, extracorporeal methods of blood cleansing may be used, including plasmapheresis.
Although some people are unaware as to what the subject of rheumatology is, they can repeatedly undergo manifestations of rheumatic diseases during their lives.
Briefly, rheumatology is a discipline engaged in the study, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of inflammatory and dystrophic nature affecting connecting tissues and joints. Fortunately, most cases of back pain, muscle pain and minor swelling in the joints occur only for a limited time and pass on their own or after local use of ointments, creams and gels.
At the same time, it is necessary to remember that if there is a persistent fever, pain in muscles, puffiness and constraint in the joints, a skin rash occurs, and general weakness and indisposition accumulate: these are disturbing symptoms and a reason to consult a rheumatologist.
It is important that rheumatic signs may accompany dangerous diseases which are not connected with rheumatology, for example, tumour and infection problems. At the same time, rheumatic manifestations may be the first and clearest signs of a latent illness. And in this case, the dominant role of the rheumatologist is to distinguish independent rheumatic diseases from illnesses accompanied by a “rheumatic mask”. Otherwise, the patient will be treated for secondary rheumatic symptoms rather than the main disease.
The largest area of rheumatology is devoted to diseases of the joints. The main symptoms of such diseases are pains and swelling of joints or a joint. These symptoms may be signs of a rheumatic pathology or they can be found with other diseases.
The form and seriousness of rheumatic pathologies are checked with laboratory, morphological and instrumental methods of diagnostics, including MRI and CT.
A necessary condition is the reliability, accuracy and depth of investigation in which the rheumatologist co-operates with other specialists for specification of the diagnosis of the rheumatic problem.
A major feature of modern concepts in the field of rheumatology is early and exact diagnosis of illness, and early active medicinal therapy, unlike not so long ago when there was a view regarding the possibility of waiting and delaying tactics of treatment.
Today it is abundantly clear that at the early stages of development, the illness responds to medicinal therapy, and in some cases, even better, the disease can be completely stopped and recovery can be achieved. Moreover, the sense of early active therapy is in the delay or stopping of destructive consequences of rheumatic problems for organs and tissues.
Another feature of the current stage of medicinal influence is the considerable expansion of an arsenal of medicines due to the appearance of a whole class of drugs called biological genetically engineered drugs. These include Remicade, Humira, MabThera, Actemra, Orencia and Enbrel. The use of these substances allows to radically change the process of serious rheumatic problems, to attain long substantial improvements and to minimise or cancel the use of other anti-rheumatic drugs.
Moreover, drugs which have for a long time been used in practice in treatment have not lost their significance, such as Metotreksat, Arava, Sulfasalazine, Plaquenil and Tauredon.
Unfortunately, it may take several months to select medicines which are effective for a specific patient, but there is no other way and the doctor must have perfect skills in a strategy and tactics of medicinal therapy. Persistence, knowledge, experience of the specialist and patience of the patient will almost always allow to find the necessary drug or combination of drugs. “Fight and search, find and not surrender” is what I usually say when a young doctor loses heart after unsuccessful initial attempts.
An obligatory condition of successful therapy is the readiness of the medical institution for treatment of patients with rheumatic illnesses: the level of specialists, possibilities of laboratory and instrumental diagnostics, comfortable and specially prepared conditions for seriously ill patients often needing assistance in the hospital wards, especially trained mid-level and junior medical staff, experts in rehabilitation, massage, physiotherapy and psychotherapy. Approximately seven different specialists are engaged in the treatment of the patient with rheumatic illnesses.
It is necessary to discuss the treatment cost. On the one hand, anti-rheumatic medical products have always been expensive. The cost of drugs of the latest generation has increased even more. However, one should bear in mind that the use of effective remedies allows not only to reduce the manifestation of the disease, but, in some cases, to stop the illness leading to a considerable reduction in the volume of treatment with other medical products, which are less effective but also expensive and sometimes dangerous.
Some drugs influence other diseases along with the rheumatic problem.. For example, Metotreksat reduces complications in the cardiovascular system, which is also extremely important.Moreover, there is a category which cannot be measured by physical and economic methods. It is connected with the patient’s emotional state and feelings of, his/her freeing from dependency associated with the disease, returning him/her a high quality of life and turning him/her into a free, independent and fully adequate member of community.