Rheumatology is a subspecialty of internal medicine. Doctors who specialize in rheumatology are referred to as rheumatologists. They diagnose and focus on non-surgical treatment of arthritis and related rheumatic diseases. Rheumatologists can also specialize in pediatric rheumatology — treating children with rheumatic diseases.
Rheumatism is a general term that describes any painful disorder affecting the body's loco-motor system, including joints, muscles, connective tissues and soft tissues around the joints and bones. Rheumatism also describes rheumatic fever that affects heart valves. Rheumatologists are physicians with expertise and training in the treatment of arthritis and autoimmune diseases.
The specialty of rheumatology covers a wide spectrum of over 100 rheumatologic diseases that can have chronic, disabling effects on joints, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Certain autoimmune diseases, such as:
- Antiphospholipid syndrome
- Musculoskeletal pain disorders
- Back pain
The rheumatologists at the Division of Rheumatology at North Shore-LIJ Health System are at the leading edge of their specialty, providing state-of-the-art care for patients with rheumatic diseases. Major diagnostic and therapeutic advances over the last two decades have greatly improved the outlook for patients with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, lupus, myositis and scleroderma. Our rheumatologists offer consultative services in general and subspecialty rheumatology.
Rheumatologists see patients in a state-of-the-art ambulatory site. In addition, they take care of outpatients in the clinics of North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Consultative care is administered to inpatients of both hospitals as well.
The Division of Rheumatology offers the following dedicated centers and services for our patients:
- Arthritis Center — specializing in the diagnosis, treatment and research of the various arthritic diseases
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Autoimmune Disease Treatment Center — specializing in treating all facets of lupus and related autoimmune diseases
- Scleroderma and Raynaud's Treatment Center — comprehensive care for patients with various forms of scleroderma as well as Raynaud's disease. Scleroderma causes connective tissue around the joints to thicken and harden. A rare disease, Raynaud's affects the arteries and reduces blood flow to the fingers and toes.
- Vasculitis Center — comprehensive care for patients with various forms of vasculitis, a condition in which the body's blood vessels develop inflammation
- Myositis Treatment Center — comprehensive care for patients with various forms of myositis and other forms of muscle disease
- The Program in Novel Therapeutics — provides an opportunity for patients to participate in clinical studies involving the latest pharmaceutical and biotechnology drugs for rheumatological conditions
- Center for Infusion Therapy — provides state-of-the-art therapies for patients with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases via intravenous administration
At North Shore-LIJ, our rheumatologists provide cutting-edge care for patients with rheumatic diseases. Because this encompasses more than 100 conditions that can affect nearly any part of the body — including all forms of arthritis, osteoporosis, musculoskeletal pain, and some autoimmune diseases — our health system uses a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose and treat patients.
To achieve this approach, the Division of Rheumatology includes not just rheumatologists, but also:
- Orthopaedic surgeons
- Occupational therapists
- Physical therapists
- Vocational rehabilitation counselors
Our professionals work to craft unique, individual treatment plans for managing rheumatic diseases.
Some of the reasons patients choose North Shore-LIJ for their medical needs are:
Specialized Treatment Centers
The Division of Rheumatology offers a number of centers and services to provide specific treatments. The Arthritis Center, for example, specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and research of the arthritic diseases. Some patients may be eligible to participate in clinical trials for new treatments. The Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Autoimmune Disease Treatment Center similarly has an extensive research program, as well as providing treatment for lupus and other autoimmune diseases. Other centers include the Scleroderma and Raynaud's Treatment Center, the Vasculitis Center and the Myositis Treatment Center.
Our centers also provide options for patients who have exhausted most traditional treatments and therapies. The Program in Novel Therapeutics has the aim of delivering the most recent biotechnology and pharmaceutical drug developments to patients. The Center for Infusion Therapy is a highly specialized unit that utilizes state-of-the-art therapies using intravenous administration of protein-based drugs.
Pioneering Research in Rheumatology
North Shore-LIJ is at the forefront of medicine when it comes to advancing our understanding of rheumatic diseases, with aggressive research programs. For example, Dr. Peter Gregersen of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research based in Manhasset led a team of researchers who identified several new genes that put people at risk for rheumatoid arthritis.
The most important investment North Shore-LIJ Health System makes is to education. With more than 100 medical residency and fellowship programs across our 17 campuses, North Shore-LIJ is transforming medical care through advanced training of future medical professionals.