A career in rheumatology
Inam Haq and Ian Giles explain why you should seriously consider this expanding specialty
Rheumatology covers a range of conditions from self limiting but troublesome musculoskeletal problems to progressive multisystem disorders. In developed countries, musculoskeletal and arthritic problems are the commonest cause of longstanding disability in adults. This is particularly true of back pain in under 50 year olds and osteoarthritis in older adults. Osteoporosis is a sizeable public health problem, with one in three women likely to have an osteoporotic fracture of the wrist, hip, or spine in their lifetime. As the population ages, musculoskeletal problems increase, and it is essential that there are rheumatologists to deal with these problems.
Rheumatology affords an excellent opportunity to practise clinical medicine in its broadest sense. Rheumatologists are often called the last of the general physicians. Autoimmune diseases such as vasculitis and systemic lupus erythematosus affect many systems, so good general medical knowledge is essential. These conditions have profound psychosocial components, and rheumatologists need a broad,