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A rheumatologist is a physician who is extensively trained in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These diseases can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and potential joint deformities. Rheumatologists also treat a group of diseases called systemic autoimmune diseases where a person’s immune system attacks their own body. These diseases can affect any part of the body, but often include the eyes, skin, nerves, kidneys, lungs, and heart. Some examples of these disorders include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, vasculitis, polymyositis, Sjorgren’s disease, and erythematosus.
A rheumatologist devotes an additional two to three years in specialized rheumatology training after they have completed a three years residency in internal medicine.
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