Who Is a Rheumatologist?
A consultant rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating arthritis and diseases related to rheumatology. Rheumatologists treat over 200 different health problems that affect the joints, bones, muscles and other internal organs (e.g. kidneys, lungs, blood vessels, brain). They focus on the non-surgical treatment of arthritis and related rheumatic diseases.
Rheumatologists treat arthritis, certain autoimmune diseases, vasculitis, musculoskeletal pain disorders, and osteoporosis. There are more than 200 types of these diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, back pain, osteoporosis, and tendinitis. Some of these are very serious diseases that can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
Adult rheumatologists are specifically trained to be highly skilled in:
1. Developing a differential diagnosis of rheumatic disorders and autoimmune diseases
2. Efficient use of diagnostic evaluations in rheumatic disorders
3. Selecting appropriate medical therapy for the treatment of rheumatic disease given the patient’s lifestyle and co-morbidities
4. Monitoring long-term efficacy and side effects of multiple medications including anti-inflammatory and biological agents used to treat rheumatic disease
5. Improving quality of life and decreasing disability of patients suffering from rheumatic disease
6. Providing longitudinal care for chronic rheumatic disease management such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and many more.)(should mention specific diseases or be more generic?)
7. Aspiration and injection of joints for diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic disease
8. Interpretation of radiographic, imaging, (e.g., ultrasound, MRI, CT, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) and laboratory studies in the context of rheumatic disease evaluation
9. Evaluation and management of osteoporosis
Rheumatologists provide a key role in the non-surgical treatment of osteoarthritis, soft tissue rheumatism, back pain, and other aspects of musculoskeletal health. Particularly, attention is paid to care of the geriatric patient who may be unable or does not wish to have extensive surgical procedures for the treatment of osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis as well as other conditions.