Rheumatology | Autoimmune Diseases
Our Approach to Care
At MaineHealth, our rheumatology practice includes specialists who treat autoimmune disorders that can cause pain, swelling, stiffness and deformity. At MaineHealth, our rheumatologists treat adults and children with musculoskeletal and autoimmune conditions. They help patients learn to manage chronic conditions. Most of our rheumatologists work at specialty practices and clinics, but are affiliated with local hospitals.
- See our directory of rheumatologists.
What is an Autoimmune Disorder?
With autoimmune diseases, healthy cells are under attack by your body’s own immune system. When your immune system is functioning properly, it protects your body from disease. There are many types of autoimmune diseases, and they can affect many parts of the body.
Care & Treatments
Autoimmune diseases are chronic conditions, with patients learning to manage their symptoms over time. Often symptoms get worse and improve, depending on many factors.
Autoimmune disease signs can include pain, swelling and discomfort
- Redness in the affected area
- Pain and discomfort
- The affected area feels hot.
- All the symptoms described above are the result of inflammation.
Learning to manage an autoimmune disease
Diagnosis includes blood tests to determine the types of antibodies your body is producing.
There is no cure for an autoimmune disorder. Treatment depends on the type of autoimmune disorder and other factors. Your provider’s goal often will be to reduce the inflammation caused by your autoimmune disorder.
Treatment often involves easing symptoms and helping the patient to manage the disease.
Pediatric specialists who focus on autoimmune disorders
A pediatric rheumatologist at The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital in Portland can evaluate young patients experiencing symptoms of arthritis or an autoimmune disorder. Pediatric rheumatologists are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat both common and rare conditions in children. Disorders include juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, lupus and scleroderma.