Rheumatologists are doctors that specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with health conditions that affect the joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. When a person starts to notice they are experiencing persistent pain or stiffness in their joints, their GP will usually refer them to a rheumatologist for further help.
You may guess from the title, rheumatologist, that this type of doctor will specialise in issues such as rheumatism, but in fact, they will help people with a wide range of inflammatory musculoskeletal health conditions.
Rheumatologists are professionally trained doctors and go through the same training as any other medical doctor, but they go onto undertake more specialist training and gain extra qualifications to increase their knowledge and understanding of the conditions that affect the joints.
Specialisms within rheumatology
A rheumatologist can decide to narrow their focus and specialise in specific rheumatic conditions, or they can choose to diagnose and treat a wider range of conditions within rheumatology. So if a doctor has a deep interest in one aspect of rheumatology, such as autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, for example, they can become a specialist in that field.
There is a wide range of conditions that come under the rheumatology umbrella, and these can include:
- Autoimmune and inflammatory conditions
- Chronic pain
- Metabolic disorders that affect the bone
- Non-inflammatory degenerative joint conditions
- Pediatric or juvenile rheumatic conditions
- Soft tissue diseases
What conditions do rheumatologists diagnose and treat?
Rheumatologists can help you when you are experiencing repeated or persistent pains, inflammation, burning sensations, tenderness and stiffness in your joints. You may be referred by your GP to a rheumatologist, or if you suspect you have a joint condition, you can book a private consultation with a rheumatologist to get a quicker and more in-depth diagnosis.
The conditions rheumatologists diagnose and treat include:
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Giant cell arteritis
- Idiopathic juvenile arthritis
- Inflammatory arthritis of the knees, hips, or shoulders
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Reactive arthropathies
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)
What happens at a consultation?
Your rheumatologist will look at your medical records to check for any already diagnosed underlying health conditions that could be the cause of your symptoms. They will ask about your family history to see if there are issues that may run in your family.
They will carry out a thorough physical examination and perform other tests, such as blood tests, x-rays, scans etc. to help diagnose and rule out any other causes.
At your visit, you will be asked to bend, stretch and flex the areas of concern so the rheumatologist can assess your condition, range of motion and joint functionality.
Your rheumatologist will use the data gathered from your results to diagnose your condition and will discuss your treatment options so you can be fully informed of your treatment plan, what it involves and what results you can expect to see.
If you have any questions that you would like to ask Dr Bhadauria or his specialist team, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.