Main Role of Rheumatology



What's the Role of the Rheumatologist in RA Diagnosis and Treatment?

Finding a reputable rheumatologist is essential for your RA treatment. Here's why.

By Madeline R. Vann, MPH

Medically Reviewed by Alexa Meara, MD

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Rheumatologists are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat rheumatic disease.
Rheumatologists are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat rheumatic disease.
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What does a rheumatologist do? And why do you need to see one?

You might wonder why you have been referred to a specialist instead of your family doctor or internist. Although you will still see your regular doctor for other health concerns, rheumatologists are doctors who are specially trained in the treatment of arthritic diseases. They will provide the leadership on your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment.

Experts in Rheumatic Diseases

"There is a Chinese saying that even the man who knows a thousand things should consult the man who knows one," observes John M. Stuart, MD, a professor of medicine and rheumatology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. "By focusing on a small group of diseases, rheumatologists are more systematic in their approach to evaluating the nature of the arthritis, how quickly it is progressing, and what are the very latest treatments available."

In addition to staying on top of current developments in rheumatoid arthritis treatment, a rheumatologist's practice will be able to monitor rheumatoid arthritis treatment closely and identify any possible side effects or need for changes in treatment before problems develop. "There is still a lot of art in the care of patients with RA," says Dr. Stuart.

How to Find a Rheumatologist 

A little bit of groundwork can go a long way toward finding a well-qualified rheumatologist to manage your treatment. Follow these tips when starting your search.

  • Ask for referrals. Your primary-care physician is a great place to start.
  • Check qualifications. Make sure the rheumatologist is board certified or specifically licensed for the field.
  • Conduct interviews. Set up appointments to talk with several rheumatologists before making your final decision. Think about what you want and need from the doctor and prepare a list of questions to bring with you.

Other Professionals in Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Once you've found a reliable rheumatologist, it's important to talk about other medical professionals who may be involved in your treatment. A team-based approach is very helpful in managing rheumatoid arthritis because of the long-term, . "Medicine has progressed so rapidly in the last couple of decades that no physician can keep up with all the changes," says Stuart. "The best medical care is necessarily team-based."

Here are some of the key players you may consider.

Orthopedists specialize in treating bone and joint problems, and are important for people with rheumatoid arthritis whose joints need replacing. "Orthopedists also repair broken tendons, relieve nerve compression syndromes, and remove difficult nodules," notes Stuart, who says these types of complications are rarer and rarer.

Physical therapists are trained to understand how the body moves so that they can help people learn how to move comfortably. A physical therapist can help you plan a fitness routine that works for your body at every stage of rheumatoid arthritis treatment; they can also figure out how you can be safe and comfortable at home, assist you with learning to use braces and adaptive technologies, and identify any changes you need to make in the way you function at work or at home. "The physical therapist is very valuable in helping maintain muscle strength without overstressing the joints," says Stuart.

Physical medicine specialists and podiatrists are two of the many professionals who may be called if a person with rheumatoid arthritis needs braces, modified shoes, or other adaptive technologies so they can be as mobile and independent as possible.






Video: Dr Yeliz Prior discusses OT role in the rheumatology MDT at BSR 2018

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Date: 07.12.2018, 14:36 / Views: 31442