BENGALURU: Karnataka is facing an acute shortage of rheumatologists leading to delayed diagnosis of patients suffering from diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus and vasculitis, among others, with many of them being forced to travel long distances to avail treatment. Dr B G Dharmanand, consultant rheumatologist, Vikram Hospital, said, “There are only 32 rheumatologists in Karnataka of which 25 are based in Bengaluru. Children also suffer from arthritis and other rheumatological conditions... but there are only five pediatric rheumatologists in the state — three of whom are in city.”
Around 80% of all rheumatological patients are women.
“Patient load is huge for rheumatologists and patients have to book days in advance for an appointment. Due to the dearth of trained specialists and investigation facilities, diagnosis of rheumatological diseases also gets delayed in majority of the cases,” he said.
The hospital is setting up Institute of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology. Dr Somesh Mittal, CEO, Vikram Hospital, said, “Karnataka does not have many training opportunities for medical specialists to learn rheumatology. This institute intends to bring senior rheumatologists under one umbrella.”