Rheumatoid Arthritis Ra Rheumatologist

What is a Rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist is a doctor who treats people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, a rheumatologist is qualified to treat the following:

  • certain autoimmune disorders, including lupus
  • musculoskeletal pain
  • osteoporosis.

In addition to completing four years of medical school, rheumatologists complete three years in internal medicine or pediatrics and then go on to complete two years to three years of specialized rheumatology training. Most rheumatologists choose to become certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. In order to be certified, rheumatologists must complete an exam.

A rheumatologist can help diagnose your condition and determine the extent to which your rheumatoid arthritis has progressed. He or she can also help determine a course of treatment for your condition.

Why Should You See a Rheumatologist?

If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, a rheumatologist is likely best-qualified to deal with your condition. While some people feel disloyal when they choose a rheumatologist over their family physician, a rheumatologist can help you cope with your pain and monitor your condition more closely and accurately than a traditional family doctor.

Since RAs often responds to treatment best in the early stages of the disease, it is important to see a rheumatologist if you experience any rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, including severe pain in your muscles, bones or joints, for more than just a few days.

Your rheumatologist will be trained to spot the early symptoms of arthritis and will be able to prescribe a course of treatment to lessen your symptoms and improve your quality of life. In order to monitor your condition and deal with changing or progressing RA symptoms, you may have to see your rheumatologist on a regular basis.

Finding a Rheumatologist

To find a rheumatologist in your area, ask your family physician for a reference. He will likely know several rheumatologists and will be able to point you to one that will be able to help with your condition. You can also ask friends and family members for recommendations on rheumatologists.

Another option is to contact the American College of Rheumatology to find a rheumatologist in your area.

When looking for a rheumatologist, call various offices and ask if they accept your insurance plan, if you have health insurance. Not all rheumatologists accept all types of insurance plans.

Questions to Ask Your Rheumatologist

When you’ve found a rheumatologist and have scheduled an appointment, write down the following list of questions and bring the list with you to your first appointment:

  • Do I have joint damage?
  • Is rheumatoid arthritis the cause of my joint damage?
  • What medications can you prescribe to help prevent further joint damage?
  • What steps can I take in my everyday life to prevent joint damage and to reduce my rheumatoid arthritis pain?
  • What tests can you do to determine the extent of my joint damage?

Resources

Remicade (2007). Questions to Ask Your Rheumatologist. Retrieved June 21, 2007, from the Remicade Web site: http://www.remicade.com/ra/ra_doctor/ra_questions.jsp.

Ruderman, Eric (2007). Rheumatoid Arthritis. Retrieved June 21, 2007, from the American College of Rheumatology Web site: http://www.rheumatology.org/public/factsheets/ra_new.asp#10.

Spondylitis Association of America (2007). ROLE OF A RHEUMATOLOGIST. Retrieved June 21, 2007, from the Spondylitis Association of American Web site: http://www.spondylitis.org/patient_resources/medteam_rheumy.aspx.