Rheumatoid Arthritis Consultant
When you have indication or full diagnosis of a rheumatic condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, your GP will refer you to a doctor specialising in rheumatoid arthritis. Your rheumatologist will be the main face in the treatment of your condition going forward and they will ensure that you are on a treatment plan which alleviates the pain and discomfort caused by your condition.
When do you need to see a rheumatologist?
Rheumatologists can be defined as a doctor specialising in rheumatoid arthritis but they also specialise in other musculoskeletal conditions and autoimmune conditions. It may be recommended that you are referred to a rheumatologist if:
You have a Rheumatoid Arthritis or Rheumatic Disease Diagnosis
There are over 100 different conditions considered a type of arthritis and a doctor specialising in rheumatoid arthritis can help in all of these situations.
They specialise in individualised care for each person and their condition and there are a wide range of rheumatic diseases you can get help with including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, scleroderma, antiphospholipid syndrome and polymyalgia rheumatica. These are just some of the diseases that a rheumatologist can help with.
You have unmanageable joint pain or swelling
Pain and swelling to the joints are among the first symptoms of many rheumatic diseases. This is something you should discuss ASAP with your GP so you can get a referral to a specialist doctor and with early diagnosis treatment for many rheumatic diseases is much more effective.
You have unusual blood test results
Your GP may send you for blood tests following a consultation about joint pain and swelling and often when they come back with complex or unusual results you will then receive a referral. Particular discoveries in blood tests can be indicative of the presence of a rheumatic disease but this is something which an expert in the field would need to analyse fully.
The kinds of blood tests which are most relevant including antincular antibodies (ANA) and rheumatoid factor (RF) tests and they help a specialise ascertain if you have an underlying rheumatic disease.
You cannot get a complete diagnosis
For many rheumatic diseases and even rheumatoid arthritis in some instances it is hard to get a complete diagnosis. Your GP will have professional experience of most conditions but they are not a specialist and to ensure you get a fitting diagnosis and all the testing you need you should be referred to a doctor who specialises in this area.
Finding a doctor specialising in rheumatoid arthritis is something you can research on your own or you can look into local hospitals and of course take your GP’s advice. The sooner you speak to a specialist the sooner your individualised care plan can begin.