Rheumatologist: What They Do and Conditions They Treat



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What Are the Most Common Reasons to See a Rheumatologist?

April 4, 2022
Katie McCallum

If you have pain in your joints that is accompanied by other symptoms, like swelling and fatigue, your doctor may have recommended seeing a rheumatologist.

Your reaction might be to ask a question: What is a rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist is a specialist who diagnoses and treats arthritis and other immune-related diseases and conditions.

Dr. Niharika Ganti, a rheumatologist at Houston Methodist, is here to explain everything you need to know about seeing a rheumatologist, including why your doctor might be referring you to one.

What does a rheumatologist do?

Considered another way, what does a rheumatologist treat exactly?

“Your doctor refers you to a rheumatologist when he or she suspects you have a systemic, autoimmune condition,” says Dr. Ganti. “These are diseases in which your immune system is attacking your own body. In the process, inflammation occurs in different organ systems within the body, leading to a variety of symptoms.”

The most common reasons to see a rheumatologist include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Vasculitis

And take note, rheumatoid arthritis — one of the conditions most frequently treated by the rheumatologist — isn’t the same as osteoarthritis, which also affects the joints and is the commonest kind of arthritis.

“The joint pain associated with osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear in joints and ligaments,” explains Dr. Ganti. “It’s degeneration that is mechanical in nature and related to age, injury or repeated stress — and it typically occurs in a particular joint or just a few joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is characterized by systemic inflammation that causes painful swelling in joints throughout the body.”

As the name implies, systemic autoimmune conditions can affect organs and areas throughout your body, leading to a variety of symptoms.

“These encompass a broad spectrum of conditions that can affect different organ systems, including your musculoskeletal system, skin, kidneys, lungs, nervous system and more — with the joints being the most commonly affected,” says Dr. Ganti. “Wherever the immune system is attacking, specifically, is where you will notice the symptoms.”

The common symptoms of systemic autoimmune conditions include:

  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in more than one joint
  • Fatigue
  • Generalized weakness
  • Skin rashes or lesions
  • Hair loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, start by consulting your primary care doctor.

“Your doctor can help distinguish if a symptom like joint pain is non-inflammatory and therefore more likely caused by osteoarthritis, or if it’s accompanied by other systemic symptoms that may indicate an inflammatory, autoimmune condition,” says Dr. Ganti.

In this case, a basic panel of blood tests that look for markers of inflammation will likely be ordered. From there, your doctor will determine whether you need to be referred to a rheumatologist for further evaluation.

What happens at the first appointment with a rheumatologist?

At the first appointment, your rheumatologist will likely order a battery of tests — from extensive blood tests to X-rays — to help identify and rule out the potential causes of your symptoms.

“Most systemic autoimmune conditions are associated with elevated inflammatory markers, so blood tests can give us a clear idea of what’s happening in the body and make a diagnosis,” says Dr. Ganti.

In some cases, however, the cause of systemic symptoms can’t always be identified via blood work.

“Fibromyalgia, in particular, is a diagnosis of exclusion,” explains Dr. Ganti. “These are people who present with generalized, chronic joint pain but their inflammatory workup comes back negative — making it more of a clinical diagnosis than one based on blood work.”

How does a rheumatologist treat arthritis and other autoimmune conditions?

If you’re diagnosed with a rheumatic condition, the primary goal of treatment is to modify the activity of your immune system in order to reduce the inflammation it’s causing.

“Immunomodulatory medications and steroids are the mainstay for managing these conditions,” says Dr. Ganti. “Lastly, we add in symptomatic treatment with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and topical analgesics.”

For treatment of advanced or severe conditions, medications that suppress your medications may be needed.

“Your immune system plays otherwise important roles, such as preventing infection — so we don’t suppress it unless your condition warrants it,” says Dr. Ganti.

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FAQs

Why would you need to see a rheumatologist?

Rheumatologists diagnose, treat and manage a broad range of conditions, including: Inflammatory (rheumatic) disorders that affect muscles, joints and bones. Connective tissue diseases that affect supporting structures like your ligaments and tendons, and may involve the skin and other organs

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What conditions do rheumatologists treat?

There are more than 100 types of rheumatic diseases and other conditions that rheumatologists treat, including:

  • osteoarthritis.
  • rheumatoid arthritis.
  • musculoskeletal pain disorders.
  • osteoporosis.
  • gout.
  • back pain.

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When should a patient be referred to rheumatology?

Primary health care providers should consider referring patients to a rheumatologist if: You diagnose or suspect an inflammatory type of arthritis (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis), or to confirm a diagnosis. A patient needs a management plan for a type of inflammatory arthritis.

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What happens at your first rheumatology appointment?

?The first visit will include a physical exam in which your rheumatologist will search for joint swelling or nodules that may indicate inflammation,? says Dr. Smith. ?Lab tests, such as X-rays and blood work, may also supply pieces of the puzzle to assist your rheumatologist in arriving at your diagnosis.?Jun 4, 2020

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What blood tests does a rheumatologist do?

The only appropriate rheumatology ?screening? laboratory tests are the acute phase reactants, either the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or the C-reactive protein (CRP). These tests are almost always elevated in any inflammatory rheumatic disease.

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What is the first stage of lupus?

Lupus Symptom: Joint Pain

Joint and muscle pain is often the first sign of lupus. This pain tends to occur on both sides of the body at the same time, particularly in the joints of the wrists, hands, fingers, and knees. The joints may look inflamed and feel warm to the touch.

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When should you suspect lupus?

Rashes that develop on the face and upper arms after exposure to sunlight, unexplained fevers, and painful, swollen, or stiff joints are all common lupus symptoms ? and are symptoms you should tell your doctor about, says Neil Kramer, MD, a rheumatologist at the Institute for Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases at …

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What does rheumatoid pain feel like?

A person with RA may feel intense pain in their joints during flares. This may feel like sustained pressure, a burning sensation, or a sharp pain. However, people with RA may also experience periods of remission when they feel few to no symptoms. In addition to causing pain in the joints, RA can affect the whole body.

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Will a blood test detect rheumatoid arthritis?

No blood test can definitively prove or rule out a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, but several tests can show indications of the condition. Some of the main blood tests used include: erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) ? which can help assess levels of inflammation in the body.

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What is lupus joint pain like?

Lupus can also cause inflammation in the joints, which doctors call ?inflammatory arthritis.? It can make your joints hurt and feel stiff, tender, warm, and swollen. Lupus arthritis most often affects joints that are farther from the middle of your body, like your fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, and toes.

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When should you see a Rheumatologist? – ARAPC

When should you see a Rheumatologist? What is it and how is it diagnosed? We all have general musculoskeletal pains from time to time that last for just a few days. But, when pain in your joints, muscles, neck, back and bones is severe and persistent for more than a few days, you should see your doctor. Rheumatic diseases are difficult to identify in their early stages and you can have everyday symptoms that actually are related to much more complex conditions. Rheumatologists are your experts in this area and are trained to evaluate all of your symptoms to diagnose and treat your condition.They know it is imperative to find the correct diagnosis as rapidly as possible to begin appropriate treatment because many of these disorders respond best to treatment in the early stages of disease. Many rheumatic diseases change or evolve, so you may have to make more than one office visit before your rheumatologist reaches a definitive diagnosis.The diagnostic process usually includes a complete medical history, physical examination and, if indicated, blood tests and x-rays. What is a Rheumatologist? Rheumatologists are internists with special skills and training in the complex diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and rheumatic illnesses and much, much more. They treat patients with pain and disorders of the joints, muscles, tendons, bones and other connective tissues.Their strong foundation in internal medicine prepares them as specialists to manage localized and generalized pain while also considering other medications or conditions. What do Rheumatologists treat? There are more than 100 types of rheumatologic diseases, including musculoskeletal pain disorders; back and neck pain, tendinitis, bursitis, nerve impingements (sciatica, cervical radiculopathy, carpal tunnel syndrome); osteoarthritis; autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, spondyloarthro- pathies, polymyalgia rheumatic, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, antiphospholipid syndrome, scleroderma; and vasculitis; osteoporosis and osteopenia; gout; fibromyalgia; and Lyme arthritis. How does Arthritis and Rheumatism Associates, P.C., work with you? Arthritis and Rheumatism Associates, P.C. (ARA), is the largest rheumatology practice in the Washington, D.C., area. For more than 30 years, our group has served this community and is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of our  patients with pain and disorders of the joints, muscles, tendons and other connective tissue. Our practice has treatment centers in Wheaton, Rockville and Chevy Chase, Maryland, and in Northwest Washington, DC. Treating the total person, not just the disease, is the underlying philosophy at ARA.To this end, physicians consider the social and emotional impact of a disease or condition and collaborate with patients and their families as they develop treatment plans. Our practice integrates excellent medical care with comprehensive services. Each of our four offices has a full-service laboratory, x-ray facilities, DEXA, infusion center, and physical therapy department.This allows physicians to personally review and provide test results to patients in a timely manner. Certified medical assistants, physical therapists, nurses (including infusion nurses and our triage nurse team), x-ray technologists and front office staff, work with physicians to form the patient care team at ARA.Together they coordinate all diagnostic work and treatment.This gives patients the comfort of knowing there is always someone who can answer questions and provide assistance.We offer patients the opportunity to access the most recent and innovative technologies such as musculoskeletal ultrasound to assist in diagnosis and treatment and by maintaining an active clinical research program that participates in national trials to evaluate new medications for the treatment of arthritis, osteoporosis and a variety of rheumatic diseases. The complex and changeable nature of many rheumatic diseases often requires ongoing assessment and evaluation. Patients benefit from the collective expertise of ARA physicians who meet frequently to discuss patient cases, new drug treatment protocols and promising research. In addition, based on the requirements of your treatment plan, our rheumatologists coordinate your care with the other professionals comprising your healthcare team.The physicians at ARA encourage the formation of close physician/patient and family relationships as they monitor conditions and modify treatment. Our goal is to reduce pain and maximize function. At Arthritis and Rheumatism Associates, PC, we take pride in delivering exceptional care with the courtesy and respect you should expect.We know there are choices in selecting a physician or…

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Ask the Expert: When Should You See a Rheumatologist? –

Ask the Expert: When Should You See a Rheumatologist? By HSS Rheumatology Knowing when to see a rheumatologist can be tricky – especially if you don’t know what a rheumatologist is or what diseases they diagnose and treat! My own friends and family didn’t know much about this field when I chose to go into it and I’ve been in many social situations where I’ve introduced myself as a rheumatologist and have been met with blank stares in return. So first off, a rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in both musculoskeletal disorders and certain autoimmune conditions. In its simplest form, we can be described as “arthritis” doctors, but really we actually do much more. Here are some reasons to see a rheumatologist: You have been diagnosed with arthritis or a rheumatic disease There are over 100 types of arthritis and rheumatologists specialize in the care of many of these conditions. Examples of diseases that may be treated by a rheumatologist include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), vasculitis, Sjogren’s syndrome, gout, scleroderma, antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), myositis, sarcoidosis, polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), and temporal arteritis (or giant cell arteritis). We take care of many other rare diseases as well. You have joint pain and/or swelling Joint pain and swelling may be the first symptoms of rheumatic disease. We know that early diagnosis and treatment of arthritis are the best ways to ensure good outcomes in our patients. If you are suffering from joint symptoms, consider scheduling an appointment with a rheumatologist for an evaluation. You have been told you have certain abnormal blood test results Certain symptoms or complaints will prompt primary care doctors to order blood tests that may indicate the presence of rheumatic diseases. Examples of these blood tests include: antinuclear antibodies (ANA), rheumatoid factor (RF), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). If you have tested positive for one of these tests, consider meeting with a rheumatologist to determine if your symptoms might indicate an underlying condition. You are having trouble figuring out what’s wrong Rheumatologists treat many rare diseases that are difficult to diagnose. We often act as detectives to help put together the pieces of a complex puzzle of symptoms and lab tests. Seeing a rheumatologist early on can help patients avoid waiting months to years before receiving a diagnosis. Gathering the clues and helping patients figure out what’s going on is one of my favorite things about being a rheumatologist. I absolutely love the opportunity to help my patients figure out a diagnosis, teach them what to expect from their diseases, and devise treatment plans to get them feeling better. If any of the points listed above applies to you or a family member, consider scheduling an appointment with one of the rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery or ask your primary care doctor to help find a rheumatologist near you. Dr. Alana B. Levine is a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery. She specializes in rheumatic autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus, antiphospholipid syndrome, undifferentiated connective tissue disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Related Articles

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Rheumatologist: What They Do and Conditions They Treat

Rheumatologist: What They Do and Conditions They Treat What is a rheumatologist? A rheumatologist is an internal medicine physician with subspecialized training in rheumatology. This medical specialty deals with musculoskeletal conditions, as well as autoimmune and inflammatory conditions in people of all ages. Many of these conditions may run in families. What does a rheumatologist do? Rheumatologists diagnose, treat and manage a broad range of conditions, including: Inflammatory (rheumatic) disorders that affect muscles, joints and bones. Connective tissue diseases that affect supporting structures like your ligaments and tendons, and may involve the skin and other organs. Autoimmune diseases that happen when your immune system attacks healthy tissue. What does a rheumatologist treat? Conditions rheumatologists treat include: Complex and inherited disorders Beçhet’s disease. Osteoporosis. Psoriatic arthritis. Rheumatic fever. Sarcoidosis. Scleroderma. Sjögren’s syndrome. Systemic lupus erythematosus. Joint problems Ankylosing spondylitis. Bursitis. Gout. Osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis. Tendon issues Achilles tendinitis. De Quervain’s tendinosis. Patellar tendonitis. Rotator cuff issues. Tennis elbow. Muscle conditions Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Myopathies. Myasthenia gravis. Polymyositis. Rhabdomyolysis. What is the difference between a rheumatologist vs. an orthopaedist? Orthopaedists and rheumatologists specialize in conditions affecting the joints, bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. They treat many of the same conditions, including joint pain and tendinitis. But there are a few differences between these medical specialties. Rheumatologists consider every organ system when looking for the cause of your symptoms. An orthopaedist focuses on injuries, congenital disease and wear and tear (degenerative conditions). Also, orthopaedists perform surgery, but rheumatologists do not. While both rheumatologists and orthopaedists help diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions, rheumatologists have specialized training in musculoskeletal conditions of an inflammatory and autoimmune etiology. What type of medical training do rheumatologists undergo? Training starts with a traditional undergraduate bachelor’s degree followed by a four-year medical school curriculum (a doctor of medicine degree, or MD) or osteopathic education (a doctor of osteopathy degree, or DO). Osteopathic doctors learn a holistic approach that considers a person’s mind, body and spirit. After medical school, physicians complete a three-year residency with a focus on internal medicine (adult medicine) and/or pediatrics (children and young adults). Doctors gain experience managing a broad range of diseases during their residency. Doctors must pass the internal medicine or pediatric board examination to subspecialize. Doctors must complete an additional two- to three-year fellowship (subspecialty training) to become a rheumatologist. This education provides specific training in musculoskeletal and autoimmune/inflammatory diseases. Rheumatologists can become board certified after passing a rigorous exam demonstrating their knowledge. All rheumatologists must pursue ongoing training through continuing medical education courses. What are reasons to see a rheumatologist? One reason is a family history of rheumatic or autoimmune disease. You may also make an appointment if you have symptoms of a condition they treat. It’s especially important for symptoms that come on suddenly or worsen quickly. Symptoms of rheumatic disease include: Dermatitis. Dry eyes. Dry mouth. Fatigue. Hair loss (alopecia). Inflammation in the lining of the lungs. Itching. Muscle weakness. Stiffness. Swelling. Swollen lymph nodes. How soon should I see a rheumatologist? It’s important not to delay seeking care. Some rheumatic diseases, like arthritis, can cause permanent joint damage. Receiving care in earlier stages lowers your risk. How do I prepare for an appointment with a rheumatologist? If you are a new patient, it may…

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What Are the Most Common Reasons to See a Rheumatologist?

When Should You See a Rheumatologist? TIPS TO LIVE BYWhat Are the Most Common Reasons to See a Rheumatologist? April 4, 2022 – Katie McCallum If you have pain in your joints that is accompanied by other symptoms, like swelling and fatigue, your doctor may have recommended seeing a rheumatologist. Your reaction might be to ask a question: What is a rheumatologist? A rheumatologist is a specialist who diagnoses and treats arthritis and other immune-related diseases and conditions. Dr. Niharika Ganti, a rheumatologist at Houston Methodist, is here to explain everything you need to know about seeing a rheumatologist, including why your doctor might be referring you to one. What does a rheumatologist do? Considered another way, what does a rheumatologist treat exactly? “Your doctor refers you to a rheumatologist when he or she suspects you have a systemic, autoimmune condition,” says Dr. Ganti. “These are diseases in which your immune system is attacking your own body. In the process, inflammation occurs in different organ systems within the body, leading to a variety of symptoms.” The most common reasons to see a rheumatologist include: Rheumatoid arthritis Lupus Osteoarthritis Gout Psoriatic arthritis Sjögren’s syndrome Fibromyalgia Vasculitis And take note, rheumatoid arthritis — one of the conditions most frequently treated by the rheumatologist — isn’t the same as osteoarthritis, which also affects the joints and is the commonest kind of arthritis. “The joint pain associated with osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear in joints and ligaments,” explains Dr. Ganti. “It’s degeneration that is mechanical in nature and related to age, injury or repeated stress — and it typically occurs in a particular joint or just a few joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is characterized by systemic inflammation that causes painful swelling in joints throughout the body.” As the name implies, systemic autoimmune conditions can affect organs and areas throughout your body, leading to a variety of symptoms. “These encompass a broad spectrum of conditions that can affect different organ systems, including your musculoskeletal system, skin, kidneys, lungs, nervous system and more — with the joints being the most commonly affected,” says Dr. Ganti. “Wherever the immune system is attacking, specifically, is where you will notice the symptoms.” The common symptoms of systemic autoimmune conditions include: Pain, stiffness or swelling in more than one joint Fatigue Generalized weakness Skin rashes or lesions Hair loss If you notice any of these symptoms, start by consulting your primary care doctor. “Your doctor can help distinguish if a symptom like joint pain is non-inflammatory and therefore more likely caused by osteoarthritis, or if it’s accompanied by other systemic symptoms that may indicate an inflammatory, autoimmune condition,” says Dr. Ganti. In this case, a basic panel of blood tests that look for markers of inflammation will likely be ordered. From there, your doctor will determine whether you need to be referred to a rheumatologist for further evaluation. What happens at the first appointment with a rheumatologist? At the first appointment, your rheumatologist will likely order a battery of tests — from extensive blood tests to X-rays — to help identify and rule out the potential causes of your symptoms. “Most systemic autoimmune conditions…

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5 Reasons Why a Patient Should See a Rheumatologist

5 Reasons Why a Patient Should See a RheumatologistAutoimmune diseases are often complex and difficult to diagnose. And yet, diagnosis and early treatment by a rheumatologist is key to having a positive patient outcome.The rheumatologists in the Section of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at Yale School of Medicine (YSM) are experts at identifying and treating rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases that are often misdiagnosed. A rheumatologist is an internist who has received additional training in the detection and treatment of musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions commonly referred to as rheumatic diseases. Women are diagnosed with autoimmune diseases at a rate of about 2 to 1 compared to men. These diseases can affect the joints, muscles, and blood vessels, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformity. Conditions treated by rheumatologists include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, and spondyloarthritis. Here several examples of when primary care providers should consider referring a patient to a rheumatologist:If the patient has unexplained joint pains and swelling, their muscle and joint pains are not resolving as you would expect, or their symptoms are getting worse over a short period of time, additional evaluation may be needed. If a patient has repeated episodes of joint pains, swelling, fever or skin rash, they should see a rheumatologist. Seeing a rheumatologist can lead to early diagnosis and help your patient avoid permanent damage to joints and organs, says Vaidehi Chowdhary, MBBS, MD, DM, associate professor of medicine in the Section of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology at YSM. If you would like to have a rheumatologist develop a personalized treatment plan for your patient after gathering the patient’s complete medical history, performing a physical exam, and reviewing results of laboratory tests. If a patient gets frequent attacks of gout despite being on medications or if you as their primary care provider has concerns about an underlying rheumatic condition, the patient can be referred to a rheumatologist for an evaluation.The Section of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology is one of the eleven academic sections within YSM’s Department of Internal Medicine. To learn more about its work, visit Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology. Submitted by Jane E. Dee on May 05, 2021Featured in this article

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When to See a Rheumatologist – Mayo Clinic Health System

When to See a Rheumatologist Most everyone has experienced muscle and joint pain from time to time. When your muscle and joint pain is not resolving as one would expect, a rheumatology evaluation may be needed. Typically, your primary care provider is seen for the first evaluation. If there is concern for an underlying rheumatic condition, you’ll be referred to Rheumatology for evaluation. Earlier referral should be made if you have relatives with autoimmune (when the body comes under attack by its own immune system) or rheumatic disease (as these conditions run in families) or if the symptoms are significantly worsening over a short period of time. Joint damage can occur if the symptoms of joint pain are ignored or not treated properly. This damage cannot always be reversed with treatment and may be permanent. Do not delay appropriate evaluation.

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What to Expect When You Visit a Rheumatologist's Office

What to Expect When You Visit a Rheumatologist’s Office Menu Rheumatologists: What They Do, and What to Expect By Suzanne VerityIf you think you may have rheumatoid arthritis and are about to see a rheumatologist for the first time, you’re on the right path. Studies show that the earlier you’re treated for your rheumatoid arthritis, the more likely you are to feel better sooner and stay active longer.They’re an internist (a doctor who specializes in internal medicine for adults) or a pediatrician (a doctor who treats children from birth to young adulthood). They’ve had special training in diseases that affect your joints, muscles, and bones, including those known as autoimmune conditions, or rheumatic diseases. Conditions they treat include:Long-term back painGoutLupusOsteoarthritisRheumatoid arthritisTendinitisPsoriatic arthritisThese doctors have the training to make a treatment plan just for you. Your first visit will be part conversation, part examination. Your appointment may take an hour or more, but it will be well worth the time.Because RA is a long-term disease, you’ll see this doctor often. They’ll keep your treatment on track and work with you to manage your condition.Where Do Rheumatologists Work?You’ll find them mostly in outpatient clinics. They’re usually linked with a local hospital, so they can work with people admitted there for treatment of rheumatic diseases.How Do I Find One?Your primary care doctor can refer you to a rheumatologist. But if your insurance doesn’t require a referral, you can call them and make an appointment on your own.What Questions Will My Rheumatologist Ask?One of the first questions the doctor will ask is, “What brings you here?” This is your chance to tell them how RA is affecting your life.Then, get ready to answer a lot of other questions, like:What are your symptoms?How often do you have symptoms? (All the time, daily, weekly, every now and then?)What makes you feel better? (Exercise, rest, medicine?)What makes you feel worse? (Lack of activity, not enough sleep, stress, eating a certain kind of food?)What activities cause pain? (Walking, bending, reaching, sitting for too long?)Where on your body is the pain?How bad is the pain?Which words best describe your pain? (Dull, sharp, stabbing, throbbing, burning, aching, cramping, radiating?)How does the pain make you feel? (Tired, upset, sick?)Does it stop you from doing things you enjoy? (Gardening, shopping, taking care of children, having sex?)Are there symptoms other than joint, muscle, or bone pain that seem to be linked? (Rashes, itching, dry mouth or eyes, fevers, infections?)Does anyone in your family have RA?Some of the questions may not seem to be about rheumatoid arthritis, but your doctor has a good reason for asking them. Tell them if you want to know why or if you feel uncomfortable.What Questions Should I Ask?You should also ask any questions you have about the visit and the recommended treatments. It’s natural to wonder things like:How advanced is my arthritis? Is there damage to my joints?How long will it take for me to feel better?What can I do to sleep through the night?What are the potential side effects of RA medicines?How can I prevent those side effects? When should I call you about them?I don’t like to take medicine. What are my other options?Will I have to take RA drugs for the rest of my life?What should I do when the pain flares?What types of exercise should I do?Would physical therapy help me?Are there any natural or complementary treatments I could try?Are there any foods I should avoid?Do I need to make any changes at work?Do you recommend that I look for a clinical trial?Should I worry about my children getting it?Will I become disabled?Does it affect other parts of my body?Where can I find resources to help me learn more about living with the disease?How can I find a support group?The Physical ExamIt starts out much like any standard office visit. Your doctor will:Check you from head to toe,…

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When Should You See a Rheumatologist? – Cano Health

When Should You See a Rheumatologist? – Cano Health March 10, 2021/in Blog /by Cano HealthMany disorders affect the joints, both large and small. Joint disease may occur from a variety of causes including trauma, advancing age, genetics, and having a collagen vascular disorder. Irrespective of the cause, the classic symptoms of joint disease will include: Pain which may be constant, gnawing, and throbbing. The pain may be worse in cold weather and following periods of prolonged rest Swelling: the joint may appear swollen due to fluid Stiffness is common first thing in the morning and may improve with exercise You may have symptoms in one or more joints including your neck and back  If you are living with these symptoms, you may be wondering when to see a rheumatologist.  Associated Symptoms Depending on the type of arthritis, other symptoms may also occur and include: Fatigue General malaise Fever Weight Gain Skin rash Reasons to See a Rheumatologist When the joint pain and swelling lasts a few days or is recurrent and unresponsive to over-the-counter medications, it is important to see a rheumatologist. Sometimes, you may be referred to the rheumatologist for an abnormal blood test or x-ray. The reason is that there are many causes of joint pain and swelling. Rheumatologists are specialists trained in the diagnosis and management of different types of bone and joint disease. Because many rheumatological disorders also affect other parts of the body besides the joint, the rheumatologist is well trained to detect problems with the heart, eye, skin, genitals, kidneys, brain, and lung.  Determining the cause of arthritis usually requires special laboratory and radiological tests. Consultation with many other specialists may be required when other organs are also affected. When it comes to diseases of the joints, the earlier treatment is started, the better the outcomes. More important, many disorders of the joint may flare up in the future leading to disabling symptoms and thus, lifelong follow-up with the rheumatologist is often necessary. Your Health Care Team  Because of the complex nature of these disorders and the different treatments, rheumatologists will work with a team of healthcare specialists that include the following: Physical and occupational therapist Orthopedic surgeon- bone surgeon Radiologist Anesthesiologist Ophthalmologist- eye doctor Nephrologist- kidney doctor Neurologist- brain specialist Psychiatrist What Type of Disorders Do Rheumatologists Treat? Osteoarthritis Rheumatoid arthritis Lupus arthritis Lyme arthritis Ankylosing spondylitis Low back and neck pain Tendinitis Carpal tunnel syndrome Sciatica Psoriatic arthritis Polymyalgia rheumatica Sjogren disease Scleroderma Osteoporosis Gout Fibromyalgia Benefit for the Patient Because most disorders of the joint are complex, the benefit of seeing the rheumatologist includes the following: Because of team care, the patient benefits from collective experience of a large group of specialist Rheumatologists are usually aware of the latest clinical trials on rheumatic disorders Rheumatologists know the efficacy of drugs for the treatment of each arthritic disorder Each patient treatment is individualized and a care plan is developed  The rheumatologist will regularly communicate with your primary care provider about all your treatments and future goals Your functional status will be maximized and the quality of life will be improved So, when to see a rheumatologist? When you are experiencing symptoms we have described above – and when you want to find relief and improve your quality of life. Contact Cano Health today. We are here to help.  https://canohealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/when-should-you-see-a-rheumatologist.png 600 1200 Cano Health https://canohealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/CanoHealthLogo-01-300×79.png Cano Health2021-03-10 10:00:212022-02-22 11:27:03When Should You See a Rheumatologist?

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What Is a Rheumatologist? What They Treat and When You …

What Is a Rheumatologist? What They Treat and When You Need to See One Here’s the textbook definition of a rheumatologist from the American College of Rheumatology: “A rheumatologist is an internist or pediatrician who received further training in the diagnosis (detection) and treatment of musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions commonly referred to as rheumatic diseases. These diseases can affect the joints, muscles, and bones causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformity.” After they receive their MD or OD, rheumatologists spend three years training to become an internist or pediatrician, followed by two to three more years in a rheumatology fellowship. Like all physicians, they are lifelong learners who take continuing medical education to keep up to date in their field — especially with the emergence of new and complex treatments such as biologics. Rheumatologists treat many similar joint diseases as orthopedists, but they don’t do surgery. Many common diseases that they treat include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, osteoarthritis, and chronic back pain, but there’s a lot about rheumatology you might not know. Read on to learn more about what rheumatologists do and when it makes sense to see one. 1. Rheumatologists treat more than 120 different diseases Don’t let the “rheum” in the name fool you. Besides rheumatoid arthritis (RA), these doctors treat a wide variety of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that may affect the joints (such as gout and lupus), as well as other muscle or bone problems or injuries that can make your joints hurt and limit your function. “In addition to the systemic diseases, people may come to see a rheumatologist to diagnose chronic back or neck pain or for a localized joint or muscle or tendon problem such as tennis elbow or Achilles’ tendonitis,” says Paula Marchetta, MD, MBA, president of the American College of Rheumatology. They also treat other conditions that you might be unaware of, such as osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and Lyme disease. 2. They are medical detectives Your primary care physician may send you to a rheumatologist as a last resort after no one else has figured out what’s going on. “We treat lots of rare diseases as well as more common diseases that sometimes present in unusual ways that make it harder to make the diagnosis. We have to take into consideration every system of the body, not just one organ. We do lots of detective work and think about patterns in your symptoms,” Dr. Marchetta says. 3. These doctors may be your doctor for life Some specialists consult on your diagnosis and treatment plan, then send you back to your primary care doctor for most follow-up care. Not true for rheumatologists. “After making sure we have the right diagnosis, we obtain the appropriate lab work to make sure you’re safe starting medication, and then see you every two to three months. Some people require less frequent follow-up, but we typically see patients more than their primary care doctors. In fact, we might become their primary care doctors,” says rheumatologist Liana Fraenkel, MD, MPH, adjunct professor of medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine. 4. Rheumatologists won’t be in the operating room They aren’t surgeons, but if you need joint replacement they’ll be involved both before and after your operation. “You will often need a rheumatology evaluation before surgery to manage your drugs and to decide if any precautions must be taken for surgery because of your disease. Afterward, we want to control your disease well and avoid flaring so that you can do well in rehab and maximize the success of the joint replacement,” Dr. Marchetta says. 5. A rheumatologist may change your diagnosis along the…

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