Rheumatologist near me

Being sick is a horrible feeling. Sometimes it can be things that seem menial and routine. Underlying these factors may be issues that require the attention of a specialized doctor. When these issues involved prolonged back pain, swelling or joint pain, it might be time for you to consult a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is one of the lesser known specialties in the medical field but has some of the most important jobs in keeping a person’s quality of life excellent. Only recently has the awareness to enlist the services of the best rheumatologist near me,  in the US has become common among people suffering from the condition.

What is a rheumatologist doctor?

A rheumatologist doctor is a person who studies musculoskeletal diseases and systemic autoimmune diseases that affect the joints, muscles, and bones. These rheumatic diseases are treated and diagnosed by rheumatologist doctors, which if left untreated can cause swelling, pain, and stiffness and in severe cases, deformity.

Types of diseases and health issues treated by rheumatologist doctors include:

  • Degenerative arthropathies: Osteoarthritis
  • Inflammatory arthropathies: Rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthropathies, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Gout, Septic arthritis
  • Systemic conditions and connective tissue diseases: Lupus, Scleroderma, Polymyositis, Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Sarcoidosis, Myofascial pain syndrome and vasculitis
  • Soft tissue rheumatism: low back pain, olecranon bursitis, golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow.

However, rheumatologists are not limited to the hospital where treatment is dispensed. They are also active researchers doing numerous studies to find out the causes and potential treatment for these ailments.

When should you see a Rheumatologist Near Me?

Often times, many who suffer from joint or back pain tend to overlook their symptoms as the result of fatigue. There is a high incidence of patients that suffer from rheumatic diseases to be frequently shuttled between their primary care doctors because the underlying causes may not always be evident. If the pain in the joints or bones takes longer than usual to resolve, you should notify your primary care physician about a referral to a specialist rheumatologist doctor.

Family medical history is another important factor to consider. An autoimmune disease that occurs within your family, or a history of other rheumatic diseases like myositis, gout, and lupus could be an indicator of your health. Some of these autoimmune diseases and rheumatic diseases are hereditary, sometimes even skipping a generation, only to manifest in you.

By ignoring the signs, you run the risk of irreversibly damaging the affected area or your condition which can cause more expensive treatment and even permanent damage. A proper evaluation by a specialist is extremely important.

Rheumatologists are experts in the field. They study for years diagnosing and treating rheumatic and autoimmune diseases. Your regular doctor may not be able to provide the best possible care or even understand the biology of what is actually happening and affecting your physical and emotional health. A two doctor scenario, with the rheumatologist providing reports to your primary care doctor is the best method so that in any event of a relapse or further treatment, both doctors can detect early any warning signs that one or the either might have overlooked.

What should I look for in a rheumatologist doctor?

Patient-doctor chemistry

It is important that the rheumatologist you choose is someone you are comfortable to share your history with. Certain rheumatic diseases like a chronic back pain sometimes require long treatments that will mean regular visits to your rheumatologist doctor. In order for your relationship to work, it’s important that you, as a patient, have a great rapport with the doctor.

Bedside Manners

Some doctors are known to be very brusque or mistakenly rude. Everyone has a different threshold to what they perceive as acceptable doctor care. If you don’t feel happy, it might aggravate your symptoms. Emotional well being is very important and if that is affected by the bedside manners of your doctor, you should seriously reconsider. Feeling secure with the way your doctor treats you can go a long way to a better quality of life.

Credentials

Credentials and educational background is another important factor. You want the best care possible, with someone highly experienced and can provide you with the reassurances you need, especially when times get tough. It isn’t a guarantee of the best medical care, yet an excellent medical background means your rheumatologist doctor is capable of providing you with the treatment you need, appropriately and correctly with the best possible outcome.

Compassion

Compassion is a great quality to have in a rheumatologist, as they will be responsible to treat you and patiently guide you through your treatment process. An open communication between the patient and doctor is always important. The best rheumatologist near me must have your best interest at heart, even when the both of you might not see eye to eye on certain courses of treatment, like medication, or the aggressiveness of the treatment you will require. You should feel secure and not coerced into any kind of treatment you do not feel comfortable doing.

Location of Rheumatologist Near Me

The best rheumatologist near me is the best option, compared to one out of state. With debilitating and chronic rheumatic diseases, it’s best to find one that suits you and is within your locality. Travelling might aggravate your condition, and by having your rheumatologist near me any emergency can be taken care of speedily. It also provides a measure of comfort since you don’t have to be too far from home to obtain proper treatment. Sometimes this isn’t the case for many, in which case relocation might be the better option.

Common rheumatic diseases

Osteoarthritis

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This happens when protective cartilage at the end of your bones wears down over time, causing joint pain. It usually affects people of a certain age. While it can affect any joint in your body, the most common is joint problems in your hands, spine and knees. People suffering from this disease suffer from joint pain, loss of flexibility, an obvious grating sensation when a joint is used, tenderness around the affected joint and bone spurs which are hard lumps that form around an affected joint.

Osteoarthritis is incurable, but it can be managed to better your quality of life. X-rays and MRI scans can help determine if you suffer from osteoarthritis.

A common form of treatment is the use of approved painkillers like acetaminophen. It helps moderate the pain, but it should be used as needed since overuse results in liver damage. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can be used to relieve the pain. Stronger NSAIDs are sometimes prescribed to reduce inflammation around the affected joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a very common problem for many people, especially those above a certain age, usually between 30 years old to 60 years old. An estimated 1,5 million people in the US are affected by this chronic disease. 3 times more women versus men are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

A chronic disease, rheumatoid arthritis is a very serious autoimmune disease whereby the immune system attacks the joints. The inflammation caused by the attacks makes the synovium that lines the inside of your joints to thicken, causing swelling and pain. Hands, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles, and knees are commonly affected. Since autoimmune diseases are systemic, the joint inflammation is symmetrical, meaning if one knee is affected, so is the other one. It’s a lifelong disease, but it doesn’t mean it is the end. It can be treated to increase your quality of life, but you will need the best arthritis doctor near me for that.

Characterized by painful and swollen joints, rheumatoid arthritis can cause extreme fatigue, skin nodules, and unexplained weight loss.

The best arthritis doctor near you can help you with the diagnosis and treatment of your condition. It’s important to consult one early if you suspect a problem, as delayed treatment may make your condition worse.

Gout

Gout is another common rheumatic disease that afflicts men. Caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood, this, in turn, causes the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints, to which the body responds and causes inflammation. It usually affects the joint in the base of the big toe and can be excruciating. Uric acid can be found in high concentrations in red meat, poultry, and seafood.

The best rheumatologist near me can help diagnose the condition by series of tests, which is a little tricky to determine since it bears similarities with a few other diseases. The rheumatologist will carry out, among other things, a joint fluid test. With a needle, some fluid is extracted and tested to see if there are any uric crystals present.

 Lupus

A prominent symptom of lupus is a facial rash that is evident on both cheeks, which doesn’t always affect lupus sufferers. Symptoms can come suddenly, or over time manifest themselves. Flares is another symptom where the symptoms become worse for a short while then recede and may even disappear before coming back again. It depends on the body’s immune system and also the constituency of the body towards a variety of environmental factors like sunlight or allergies.

Symptoms of lupus are fevers, joint pain, skin lesions that gets worse with sun exposure, chest pain, dry eyes, and headaches. In extreme cases, lupus can cause death by damaging the kidney, causing irreversible kidney failure. Inflammation of heart muscles caused by lupus increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Pregnant women with a history of lupus have a higher chance of miscarriage.

Test for lupus is a combination that includes blood and urine tests, as well as a physical exam. Corticosteroids are often used to treat lupus, although prolonged use and increased dosage mean you run the risk of side effects like high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are commonly prescribed, like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium to reduce swelling and fever for those with lupus.

 Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a rheumatic disease that affects the spine or back. Inflammation of the joints and ligaments in the spine causes pain and stiffness that is usually in the lower back area, and sometimes move upwards into the upper spine, chest, and neck. Untreated, it can cause the vertebrae to fuse, making the spine rigid and inflexible. Since it is also a systemic disease, organs may also be affected.

It is thought that ankylosing spondylitis is caused by genes, HLA-B27 that is found in 90 percent of Caucasians who suffer from it, in combination with bacteria. It occurs more commonly in men than women, and an estimated 500,000 people in the US suffer from it.

The usual treatment for people suffering from ankylosing spondylitis is analgesics, NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and DMARDs. Analgesics or painkillers like acetaminophen helps to relieve the pain associated with the disease. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like naproxen sodium and ibuprofen helps relieve pain and stiffness. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are commonly used to reduce swelling of the small joints in the hands and feet. Biologics, a type of DMARDs, control the disease on a cellular level, the most popular being a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor that targets the substance that causes inflammation. Corticosteroids are injected into the affected joint and surrounding tendons to provide quick relief. However, it works better for arthritis that isn’t located near the spine as it doesn’t have any effect on pain and stiffness in the spine.

Final word

A rheumatologist near me plays an important role in the health of patients suffering from rheumatic and autoimmune diseases. It is vital that regular checkups are done, and in cases where the primary care physician has found a reason to believe an issue that should be handled by a rheumatologist, urgency must be taken. As awareness of rheumatological health issues become more prevalent in mainstream society, hopefully, more people suffering from these ailments can come forward to seek help, especially if the symptoms persist. Rheumatic diseases can be debilitating, but they are manageable. The best rheumatologist near me will help diagnose your problem, treat you and hopefully provide you with a better quality of life.

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