Medical Subspecialties Institute

Rheumatology Program

  • Overview
  • Diagnosis & Treatment
  • Meet Our Team

Diagnosis & Treatment

On the initial visit to the Rheumatology Program clinic, and on subsequent follow-up appointments, each patient will have a full clinical assessment. Patients are expected to provide a full medical history as well as describe their symptoms to the physician. The physician will also conduct a physical examination, which is the diagnostic cornerstone of autoimmune diseases.

Diagnosis with Rheumatology

In order to make an accurate diagnosis, the physician may require the following tests:

  • Routine blood test: A laboratory test that requires a blood sample to test for the presence or levels of certain substances in the blood.
  • Special investigation test: Blood tests that aim to detect antibodies in the blood.
  • Biopsy: A sample of tissue that is collected during a procedure and analyzed for certain substances, such as antibodies.
  • X-ray: An imaging test that uses radiation to produce images of the bones.

Treatment with Rheumatology

The goal in treating autoimmune conditions is to achieve the lowest possible level of disease activity and, if possible, remission. The expert Rheumatology Program team works hard to improve outcomes, reduce pain, and enhance physical function and quality of life for patients.

Most patients are treated with carefully managed medication therapy. Patients with an established diagnosis of an autoimmune condition are typically treated with one of three classes of medications:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs): NSAIDs are medications that reduce pain and inflammation by blocking the action of a protein called COX. They also reduce blood clotting. This class of medication has a short onset of action, meaning that the therapy starts working quickly.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids reduce inflammation by mimicking the actions of adrenal gland hormones. They also suppress immune system function. This class of medication has a short onset of action, meaning that the therapy starts working quickly.
  • Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs): There are three categories of DMARDs, each of which works through a unique mechanism to reduce inflammation. Conventional synthetic DMARDs suppress immune system function overall while targeted synthetic DMARDs block specific functions in immune cells. Biologic synthetic DMARDs, which are made from animal or human proteins, block the action of proteins called cytokines. This class of medication can take several weeks or months to demonstrate an effect.
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Meet Our Team

The Rheumatology Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Medical Subspecialties Institute is a multidisciplinary collaboration of caregivers committed to providing superior, Patients First care. The core program team of highly trained rheumatologists and nurses coordinates with surgeons, radiologists, ophthalmologists, physical therapists, and podiatrists to diagnose and treat patients. Caregivers involved in patient care for this program are:

  • Rheumatologists
  • Nurses.
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