When Should You See a Rheumatologist?
Who is a rheumatologist?
It’s difficult and challenging to know when to see a rheumatologist, especially if you are unaware of who they are and what disease they diagnose and treat. A rheumatologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other immune-related diseases and ailments. For example, if you notice consistent joint pain followed by other symptoms such as swelling and exhaustion, your family doctor may advise you to consult a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist acquires additional training in identifying and treating musculoskeletal disorders and systemic autoimmune problems.
- Unexplained joint pain, stiffness or swelling
If an individual has unexplained joint pains and swelling, their muscle and joint difficulties are not improving as expected, or their symptoms worsen rapidly, a rheumatologist may require further assessment.
- Abnormal blood test results
Specific indications or complaints will urge general practitioners to perform blood tests such as rheumatoid factor (RF), antinuclear antibodies (ANA), or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) to rule out the presence of rheumatic disorders. However, if you test positive for any of these, you may have to see a rheumatologist.
- If diagnosed with a rheumatic disease or arthritis
Some examples of rheumatic diseases include osteoarthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and vasculitis. There are various forms of arthritis, and many of these conditions are treated by rheumatologists.
- Change in eating habits and sleeping patterns
When you have rheumatoid arthritis, it might be difficult to get a decent night’s sleep. New pain or joint heat can interrupt your sleep. Some RA medications have an impact on your appetite, resulting in weight gain or nausea that keeps you from eating. It is critical to determine whether changes in sleep and food habits are linked to some of RA’s most pernicious side effects – depression and anxiety.
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One must look out for the different signs and prioritize their health. Don’t ignore the symptoms and meet a Rheumatologist immediately if need be.