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What is a rheumatologist?

The word rheumatology derives its origin from the latin word rheuma, which means "current" or "fluid" (flow of bodily fluid into a joint). This medical specialty appeared in Europe and was officialised in 1925 with the Ligue Internationale contre le Rhumatisme. It was then introduced in North America in 1928. The term "rheumatism" is a general term that applies to any pain or symptoms associated with joints and do not mean a specific disease.


A rheumatologist is a specialist in rheumatology who did studies in medicine and who completed the medical doctorate, the internal medicine certificate (internist) and the subspecialty certificate in rheumatology. The science of rheumatology is composed of various pathologies, that are described in the section diseases. To be a rheumatologist, one has to put together all the aspects of the rheumatic disease, including the effect on the different organs and also the psychological and functionnal aspects for the patient.

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