Close Button

Rheumatology treatment at Benenden Hospital

Many people in the UK live with a rheumatic condition, the most common being rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions can cause a range of symptoms and, as well as causing physical discomfort, can have a huge effect on your mental health. It’s important to see your GP or another healthcare professional sooner rather than later so that you can receive the right advice and, where appropriate, treatment or management plan as soon as possible.

At Benenden Hospital we can help you get the answers you need, quickly.

Dr Amit Saha Treatment for rheumatic conditions

Consultant Rheumatologist, Dr Amit Saha, talks about the different types of rheumatic conditions, plus how to access diagnosis and treatment at Benenden Hospital.

I have a question about rheumatology treatment

What is rheumatic disease?

A rheumatic disease is a clinical condition which can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in your joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and even internal organs. This includes arthritis, autoimmune diseases, connective tissue disease, vasculitis and osteoporosis.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a group of over 100 different diseases, with the two most common types being osteoarthritis and autoimmune inflammatory arthritis. It also includes gout, a common type of arthritis which can cause pain, especially at the base of your big toe or in your fingers, wrists, elbows or knees.

Arthritis and can affect people of all ages, male and female, although it’s most common in women.

Arthritis symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and reduced mobility. Symptoms often get worse over time and result in chronic pain, which means that activities such as climbing the stairs and walking can become extremely painful.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting the hands, knees, spine, hips and knees. The connective tissue that holds the joint together can become inflamed and starts to deteriorate, causing joint pain and stiffness.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis caused by the body mistakenly attacking its own joint tissue. Antibodies are made and the joints start to swell. Eventually the joints will become deformed and can press on the nerve which causes pain. If rheumatoid arthritis isn’t treated, the joints can fuse, making movement difficult.

Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause brain fog, eye issues such as dry eye, glaucoma and conjunctivitis, dry lungs and constipation or stomach ulcers.

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis typically get worse the more you rest the affected joints.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder which develops due to an increase in pain processing in the brain. Commonly no cause is found.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia include musculoskeletal pain and tenderness throughout your body, as well as fatigue, headaches, dry eyes, palpitations, problems with sleep and memory and a low mood. It can also affect your digestive system and cause bladder problems.

With fibromyalgia, it’s important to confirm that the condition isn’t mimicking other rheumatology conditions. Your Rheumatologist can help to rule these out.

What is an autoimmune disorder?

An autoimmune disorder occurs when your body’s normal defence system triggers an attack on the cells of your own tissues or the lining of your joints. It can cause fatigue, pain and swelling of the joints, skin problems, abdominal pain or digestive issues as well as recurring fever and swollen glands.

Examples of autoimmune disorders include Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), also known as Lupus. If you suffer with Lupus, your immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue.

Symptoms of Lupus can affect many parts of your body including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart and lungs.

What causes an autoimmune disorder?

It’s not known exactly how autoimmune conditions are triggered. It could be as a response to trauma, surgery, an infection or even stress, but symptoms often develop gradually with no single trigger event.

What is hypermobility?

Hypermobility results in being much more flexible than unaffected people. This can be related to certain gene mutations.

Pain can occur due to over-flexion of the joints and some hypermobile disorders can affect other parts of the body such as the heart, skin, etc.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis means your bones have less density, causing them to become weak and brittle, so that a fall or even minor stresses such as coughing could cause a fracture.

What causes osteoporosis?

There are several factors that increase the likelihood of you developing osteoporosis. This includes:

  • Your age (most people who develop osteoporosis are over 45 years old)
  • Menopause
  • Smoking or too much alcohol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low weight
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Too much caffeine
  • Genetics

What is vasculitis?

Vasculitis is due to inflammation of any blood vessel in your body. This includes vessels your skin, joints, nerves intestines, and kidneys. This can cause a whole array of symptoms depending on the organ affected- a purple rash (purpura), typically on the lower legs (if skin), as well as a shortness of breath or cough, numbness or weakness in a hand or foot amongst other symptoms.

There are many different types of vasculitis including Buerger’s Disease, Henoch-Schonlein Purpura and Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

What causes vasculitis?

Vasculitis is caused by an immune response or ‘allergic reaction’ in the walls of your blood vessels, causing them to thicken and restrict blood flow to your organs. This can be caused by infection (such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C), some blood cancers or a reaction to medication. Most of the time, no cause is found.

Why would I be referred for rheumatology treatment?

You’ll be referred to a Consultant Rheumatologist because you’re experiencing ongoing aches and pains in your joints which are making normal daily activities, such as walking or climbing the stairs, difficult. You might also experience joint swelling or symptoms that could be related to any of the above conditions.

What happens during my rheumatology consultation?

Our Consultant Rheumatologists may carry out a blood or immunology test, as well as an x-ray, ultrasound scans, bone scans, CT scan or MRI scan to give a clear picture of your muscles and joints.

They may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to relieve any rheumatic pain or stiffness, advise on changes you can make to your lifestyle including losing weight, changing the food you eat and prioritising sleep. They may also recommend physiotherapy and refer you for stress management.

If these don’t work, they may give you an injection of cortisone steroid to give some relief by reducing inflammation in the affected area.

What happens after my rheumatology consultation?

Our Consultant Rheumatologists work closely with our orthopaedic surgeons, Physiotherapists and Gastroenterologists to help you manage your condition and relieve symptoms.

How much do rheumatology tests and treatments cost?

To request a quotation, please complete our online quotation form or call our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.

Martin King, Rheumatology patient

Martin's positive patient experience

Before his treatment, Martin King was suffering from pain, loss of strength and reduction in mobility in his right hand. Discover how a consultation with Consultant Rheumatologist Dr Abdul Khan helped him on the road to recovery.

Our Consultant Rheumatologists

Dr Khan

Abdul Khan

Consultant Rheumatologist and Physician

Dr Khan's specialties include inflammatory joint disease, connective tissue disease, gout, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and back pain.

Dr Pool

Andrew Pool

Consultant Rheumatologist

Dr Pool's interests are in inflammatory arthritis, giant cell arteritis, gout and connective tissue disorders.

Dr Saha

Amit Saha

Consultant Rheumatologist

Mr Saha's specialties include inflammatory joint diseases, back pain and connective tissue diseases.

Contact us about rheumatology treatment

It's easy to find out more about treatment by giving us a call or completing our enquiry form.

Subscribe to our newsletter