Rheumatologists are specialists who diagnose and treat arthritis. There are different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you suffer from these conditions, a rheumatologist can help you find relief. However, many people don't realize they should seek the help of a rheumatoid specialist. Here are four signs you should see a rheumatologist:
1. You are experiencing chronic, unexplained pain.
Pain should always be taken seriously because it's a sign that something is wrong with your body. Pain can be caused by an injury. Muscle damage and ligament damage often cause pain. When your body hurts, your doctor will first suggest rest. They may also perform X-rays and other imaging scans to detect broken bones and internal injuries. If your doctor can't find the source of your discomfort, arthritis may be the cause. A rheumatologist can help you get to the bottom of your chronic pain if it's caused by a form of arthritis.
2. Your primary care physician writes you a referral.
Often, people first see a rheumatologist because they were referred by their regular doctor. Primary care physicians are a patient's first line of care. They are general doctors with a wide breadth of knowledge. However, sometimes you need a specialist. If your doctor suspects that you are suffering from arthritis, they will refer you to a rheumatologist who can confirm their diagnosis. A rheumatoid specialist is the most qualified doctor to provide care to people suffering from arthritis.
3. You have a family history of arthritis.
Arthritis often runs in families. Women are more likely to develop arthritis than men, but anyone can develop it. If you have a family history of arthritis, it may be wise to see a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist can find out if you have arthritis using a simple blood test. Your blood will be analyzed for the presence of certain proteins and antibodies caused by rheumatoid arthritis. If you're diagnosed with arthritis, your doctor can come up with a treatment plan to help you feel better.
4. You believe you are suffering from the symptoms of arthritis.
Self-diagnosing yourself is always a risky proposition. Doctors are highly trained, having completed years of medical school. However, learning the symptoms of common diseases can help you figure out if your symptoms match up. If you believe you're experiencing the symptoms of arthritis, like swollen or hot joints, pain, and stiffness, it may be time to seek guidance from services such as Sarasota Arthritis Center.