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Thread: What is the role of a Rheumotologist?

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    Question What is the role of a Rheumotologist?

    This might sound like a silly question, especially as I've been seeing one for over a year...but what are they supposed to do?

    Mine has done a very basic physical exam (moving joints about a bit), asked lots of questions related to pain and movement, done blood tests and prescribed meds.

    Whenever I have raised a question relating to the difficulty I am having breathing I have always been told to speak to my GP, who then tells me to speak with my Rheumy, who then....you get the picture. Because I have been travelling and therefore changing docs quite regularly I have not really had the opportunity to get to the bottom and ever since I've just given up. So I'm just putting up with knowing there is something not quite right with my breathing but with no answers, and its getting worse. I know I have asthma but inhalers don't solve the issue.

    But who should I be dealing with regading breathing problems? Rheumy? GP? Referral to someone else? I can't even get anyone to stick a stethescope on my chest! I know I need to put my foot down and get this looked into but I just want to be armed with the right info.

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    Sounds like my first Rhuemy (he sucked). I was lucky if I got 10 min with him. Truth is though, he is only going to deal with your actual non-organ relates Lupus issues. Your GP Is most likely not going to deal with anything Lupus related (unless you are really, really lucky). The wonderful news (insert sarcasm here) is that any time you are dealing with a potential organ issue you have to go to a specialist. For breathing issues you will need to see a pulmanologist. Someone should have told you that a long time ago. In my opinion, if your Rhuemy is not explaining to you about what is going on and who to see it may be time to consider finding someone that will
    Mari

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    Thanks Mari,

    Thankfully I left that rheumy behind in Australia! Now I'm in NZ and waiting for a referral to my new rheumy. I shall also be asking for a referral to a pulmanologist (which, by the way, I have never even heard of) and trying to get to the bottom of it. I'm thinking I may have to head back to the UK because everything medical related is so expensive for me here, and its putting me off being fully commited to my own healthcare. At $220 a Rheumy appointment I know I can't afford many...thats more than my weekly rent!

    PS. I love your sarcasm i'm a true believer in sarcasm being one of the best ways to deal with things/people that get on the wrong side of us!
    I spent 2 years travelling Australia. Check out my travel blog at http://travelpod.com/members/helenlear

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    My rheumy (who I really like so far) basically says to see whoever I normally would for stuff (GP for most things, Derm for skin issues, Gyn for gyn issues, etc), but keep him in the loop on EVERYTHING. And he sends my GP all my labs, etc as well. It seems to work pretty well so far, but I have been lucky and not had a ton of complications.

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    Glad you appreciated the sarcasm. It is one of my favorite forms of communication. LoL

    i saw this and thought it would be helpfu


    What is a Rheumatologist


    A rheumatologist is an internist or pediatrician who received further training in the diagnosis (detection) and treatment of arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases. Also called “rheumatic” diseases, these diseases affect the joints, muscles and bones. Many rheumatologists also conduct research to find the cause of and better treatment for these disabling diseases.


    WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DO RHEUMATOLOGISTS HAVE?
    Rheumatologists must first complete four years of medical school and three years of residency training in primary care (either internal medicine or pediatrics). After taking a national exam to become board certified, rheumatologists devote two to three years in specialized training in an accredited rheumatology fellowship program.


    Most rheumatologists who plan to treat patients choose to become board certified in rheumatology after their fellowship training. If the doctor has trained in internal medicine, the subspecialty exam and certification are by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Physicians who trained in pediatrics take their board exam from the American Board of Pediatrics.


    Rheumatologists who are certified by these boards after 1990 must complete an extensive recertification process every 10 years. This process shows they have kept their medical skills and knowledge up to date.


    WHAT DO RHEUMATOLOGISTS TREAT?
    Rheumatologists treat arthritis, certain autoimmune diseases (when the body comes under attack by its own immune system), musculoskeletal pain and osteoporosis. There are more than 100 types of these rheumatic conditions. A few of them are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and tendinitis. Some of the rheumatic diseases are very serious and can be hard to diagnose and treat.


    WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE A RHEUMATOLOGIST?
    If muscle or joint pains are not severe and began just a few days before, it makes sense to give the problem time to resolve on its own. But sometimes, pain in the joints, muscles or bones is severe or lasts more than a few days. At that point, you should see your doctor.


    Many types of rheumatic diseases are not easy to find in the early stage, and you may need to see a specialist. Rheumatologists are specially trained to find the cause of joint swelling and pain. It is important for patients to get a correct diagnosis early so that proper treatment can begin. Some musculoskeletal problems respond best to treatment in the early stages of the disease.


    Because some rheumatic diseases are complex, one visit to a rheumatologist may not be enough to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. These diseases tend to be chronic (long term) and often change over time. Sometimes they get worse, and sometimes they go away for a while and then return. Rheumatologists work closely with patients to find the problem and design a treatment plan.


    HOW DOES THE RHEUMATOLOGIST WORK WITH OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS?
    The role the rheumatologist plays in health care depends on many factors and the patient’s needs. Most often, the rheumatologist works with other physicians.


    Sometimes the rheumatologist acts as a consultant to advise another doctor about a diagnosis and treatment plan. In other cases, the rheumatologist acts as a manager and relies on the help of many skilled professionals. This team may include nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers. Teamwork is important, since musculoskeletal disorders often last a long time. Health care providers can help patients and their families cope with the changes these chronic diseases cause in their lives.
    Mari

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

    ~Winston Churchill~







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    PS... I completely understand the money issue. I went without any insurance for close to 3 years and my neuro charge just over $400 per visit. Needless to say I haven't seen him in years. Thankfully I get back on track in Jan so hopefully things will get sorted out! Best of luck to you
    Mari

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

    ~Winston Churchill~







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