Other Treatment Options If You Struggle With Finding A Rheumatologist
There has been a shortage of rheumatologists in America as well as many other developed countries for the last decade, and its likely to get worse before it gets better, says Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, Florida, and medical advisor to CreakyJoints, an advocacy, education, and support group for people living with arthritis and rheumatic disease. But that doesnt mean that you cant get good treatment from your primary care physician if thats what your situation requires. The advancement in the medical communitys understanding about the causes and the treatments of arthritic conditions, as well as the evolution of telemedicine, has allowed primary care physicians to diagnose and treat most common forms of arthritis, says Ginsberg.
Dr. Domingues also thinks there could be a positive future for telehealth, which is when patients receive health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies.
It will never replace an in-person doctor, but it may be an option for the future. And the American College of Rheumatology has good support groups. CreakyJoints also has forums and resources that should be explored, says Domingues.
Do You Have Joint Pain We Can Help
At Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida, we understand how chronic pain is disruptive to your quality of life. At our practice, we can help you find the relief you crave from your joint pain, sports injuries, or other orthopedic concerns. If youve sustained disability or suffer from pain from arthritis, body trauma, an injury accident, or something similar, our orthopedics treatments can help.
For more information or to schedule a consultation at Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida, please call 215-2008 today or reach out online to book an appointment.
What To Expect At A First Visit
A routine appointment with a rheumatologist varies depending on the condition or complaint they are helping to treat. A standard appointment may include a rheumatologist:
- reviewing a persons medical and family histories as well as the results of any previous testing or laboratory work
- performing a physical exam to look for any signs of systemic inflammation
- evaluating posture, movement, and flexibility
- examining any specific joints, muscles, or bones that feel swollen, stiff, or painful
- ordering blood work or other laboratory tests, such as an X-ray or MRI scan, to provide clinical diagnosis
- making treatment recommendations, or waiting to review the lab work before recommending medications or physical therapy
- providing a clinical outlook, plans of care, and short- and long-term goals
- recommending self-management tips and home exercises
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The Importance Of Early Diagnosis
Many people are not aware that arthritis itself is not a diagnosis. It is a general word used to describe over a hundred diseases and related conditions. If you actually have arthritis, knowing the kind of arthritis is the first step towards receiving the right treatment and care for your condition.
Some types of arthritis have to be treated early. If the condition you have can result in permanent joint damage, receiving treatment on time may help ensure your joint stays functional and avert other serious health complications.
On the other hand, irregular or minor joint aches may not demand a special or immediate doctor visit. Although it is better and safer to discuss your joint health and risks of arthritis early with your doctor, you may still be able to postpone the discussion until your next checkup.
Internal Medicine Doctor In Tucson Arizona
If you have arthritis, the best thing you can do is find a supportive, knowledgeable, and experienced doctor to help you feel your best. Dr. Robert E. Lending is a board-certified internal medicine physician with decades of experience in the medical field. He has a lot of experience treating patients with conditions like arthritis and would love to help you.
To make an appointment with Dr. Lending, call 795-4291 or request an appointment online now. We look forward to welcoming you to our clinic in Tucson!
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Whether A Rheumatologist Has Been Your Partner In Health For Years Or Youre Pondering Seeing One For The First Time Heres Some Things To Know About These Quite Special Specialists
Heres the textbook definition of a rheumatologist from the American College of Rheumatology:
A rheumatologist is an internist or pediatrician who received further training in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions commonly referred to as rheumatic diseases. These diseases can affect the joints, muscles, and bones causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformity.
After they receive their MD or OD, rheumatologists spend three years training to become an internist or pediatrician, followed by two to three more years in a rheumatology fellowship.
Like all physicians, they are lifelong learners who take continuing medical education to keep up to date in their field especially with the emergence of new and complex treatments such as biologics.
Rheumatologists treat many similar joint diseases as orthopedists, but they dont do surgery. Many common diseases that they treat include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, osteoarthritis, and chronic back pain, but theres a lot about rheumatology you might not know. Read on to learn more about what rheumatologists do and when it makes sense to see one.
Why Go To A Hand Specialist For Arthritis
Painful and swollen hands are the first signs of arthritis. Arthritis can affect any part of your body, even the joints in your hands. It can make simple tasks like holding up a glass or mug, brushing your teeth, or turning a doorknob difficult.
While there is no cure for arthritis, you can manage symptoms and slow down the degeneration of your joints. Arthritis sufferers who get treatment and guidance from orthopedic doctors can live normal lives despite their condition.
An orthopedic hand specialist is trained and knowledgeable in various treatments that can ease the symptoms of arthritis in the hands and wrists. A hand specialist who is also a hand surgeon can perform surgical procedures that can help repair damaged joints and tendons in the hand due to arthritis.
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Important Considerations For People With Arthritis Of The Hip
There is no cure for arthritis. Typically, it starts gradually and worsens over time. Eventually, all forms of arthritis of the hip may permanently damage the hip joint. While osteoarthritis is more common in older people, there are forms of arthritis that affect younger people.
Fortunately, there are things that can be done to help minimize the effect of arthritis, and we are glad to discuss these option.
- 22% of the U.S. population in 2010 reported some form of arthritis
- Among adults over 65, 50% have some form of arthritis
- The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis
- Weight loss of just 11 pounds can reduce a womans risk of developing knee arthritis by 50%
- Of working age people , one-third of those who had arthritis reported it limited their ability to work
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Other Possible Causes Of Hand Pain
Hand pain is also a sign of Dupuytrens contracture, a condition in which the tissue of the palm and fingers becomes thickened and tight, causing the fingers to curl inward. Its not clear why Dupuytrens contracture develops, though those who smoke, drink a lot of alcohol, and have seizures or diabetes are more vulnerable to developing it.
Your doctor will also consider whether your hand pain could be due to carpal tunnel syndrome, says Dr. Byram. RA can be a cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, so if we see someone who has carpal tunnel, well want to make sure they dont have RA. Carpal tunnel is a condition that occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand the median nerve is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
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Ask Your Rheumatologist Questions
RA is a serious and chronic disease that currently has no known cure. Therefore, its important to understand your condition as best as possible so you can take charge of your personal health.
Dont be afraid to ask your rheumatologist lots of questions about your symptoms, your diseases progress, and the medications typically used to treat RA . Its important to address any concerns you may have about your overall condition and/or the medications you are taking.
The more you know about your RA, the better decisions you can make about which treatment is right for you. And the better decisions you can make, the higher your quality of life will be. So ask your rheumatologist whatever it is you want to know. The only stupid question is the one you dont ask.
The Benefits Of Involving Your Doctor
Based on your condition, you and your doctors can develop a joint treatment plan to minimize your symptoms, help you preserve joint function, and improve your quality of life by enabling you tostay as active as possible, says Dr. Brown.
When the signs of osteoarthritis begin to limit your daily activities, its time to take action and call your doctor.
And staying active provides you at least two additional benefits:
- Extra pounds raise your risk for serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Extra pounds also add stress on weight-bearing joints and contribute to arthritis.
- Physical activity strengthens your muscles and helps you maintain better balance. The Arthritis Foundation reports that people with osteoarthritis have as much as a 30 percent higher risk of falling and a 20 percent greater risk of fractures. Seeking treatment for osteoarthritis can help you stay on your feet.
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Expect Ups And Downs With Arthritis
Pain is an unwelcome intruder on normal daily activities. Every person diagnosed with arthritis hopes that treatment will quickly gain control over the disease. And not only do people with arthritis hope to gain control of their condition but they hope to maintain that control. The truth is that the usual course of arthritis is fraught with ups and downs. Like many chronic health conditions, it can feel like a roller coaster.
Even with treatment, you should expect both good days and bad days with arthritis. Some people find that the ups and downs, a major part of dealing with arthritis, are the most difficult aspect. If possible, prepare for those ups and downs by building flexibility into your life.
Some people find it helpful to list out ways to adapt to unforeseen circumstances ahead of time, and there are even retreats focused on “resilience training” to help those coping with chronic medical conditions.
Should I See A Doctor About Arthritis
Many people think that nothing can be done about arthritis pain. They think they need to figure out how to live with it – perhaps just like their parents did. For that reason, they think there is no reason to see a doctor. But that’s not true. If you have a joint that continually aches, you should definitely see your doctor. Treatment can ease your discomfort and may also prevent it from getting worse. In some cases, irreversible joint damage occurs within the first 2 years after arthritis has started. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can really pay off and are critical to your overall quality of life. Here’s why.
- The pain from arthritis can cause you to stop moving as much as you would have. That can make your muscles weak. Progressive muscle weakness can lead to increasingly less stable joints, poor muscle reflexes, and tiredness.
- Painful, stiff joints can interrupt balance and make it easier to fall. Because it becomes increasingly harder to recuperate from falls as you age, it’s key to avoid falling.
- Keeping your joints in one position for too long because they are achy or painful may cause you to lose the ability to fully straighten them out. This is known as a contracture.
- As arthritis worsens, it can impact every part of your life. It can limit your ability to participate in daily household chores, in your work, and in pleasurable social activities.
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They Are Medical Detectives
Your primary care physician may send you to a rheumatologist as a last resort after no one else has figured out whats going on.
We treat lots of rare diseases as well as more common diseases that sometimes present in unusual ways that make it harder to make the diagnosis. We have to take into consideration every system of the body, not just one organ. We do lots of detective work and think about patterns in your symptoms, Dr. Marchetta says.
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
You want to stay active and avoid pain, right? Then dont delay seeking treatment for joint problems likeosteoarthritis. Your doctor can help you avoid permanent joint damage and other serious health issues.
So, what joint symptoms are a sign for you to call your doctor for an evaluation?
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Then Theyll Run More Tests
Doctors will also likely measure your overall level of inflammation using two common tests: C-reactive protein and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate . Not everyone with rheumatoid arthritis has elevated levels, but when the numbers are high, the findings can help confirm the diagnosis. If a patient has elevated ESR and/or CRP levels, it would imply they have an inflammatory kind of arthritis, versus osteoarthritis, Dr. Cohen says. Your doctor may continue to use these tests to monitor your disease and inflammation levels over time.
Arthritis Of The Foot
Arthritis refers to the swelling and inflammation within a joint. This Swelling of the feet and foot pain caused by arthritis makes walking and exercise very uncomfortable. Many treatments are available from the best podiatrist in New York, including orthotics, oral medications, joint injections, and sometimes surgery. Several different types of arthritis can affect your feet, such as:
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Early Onset Arthritis Age Range
In regards to rheumatoid arthritis, for example, the average arthritis age of diagnosis in adults is between 30 and 50.7 Therefore, the early onset arthritis age is anything less than 30 because people of any age can actually develop this form of arthritis.
It is a common misconception that one is too young to have arthritis. But in fact, about half of arthritis patients are under the age of 65. While osteoarthritis is more closely associated with elderly adults and most people over 60 have at least some degree of osteoarthritis,8 the early onset arthritis age for this this condition is between 20 and 40.9
What Type Of Doctor Should You See For Knee Pain
If the pain is the result of an injury, it is recommended to go to one of Coordinated Healths Orthopedic Walk-In Injury Centers for assessment. For pain that has been occurring for a longer duration of time, schedule an appointment with an orthopedic physician for evaluation and make a personalized treatment plan.
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Which Type Of Doctor Should I See For My Rheumatoid Arthritis
Most people with RA are treated by either an internist or a rheumatologist. Who you choose to be your treating physician depends on many factors:
Most people with RA are treated by either an internist or a rheumatologist.
The doctors training and experience
His or her board certification
The proximity of the physicians office to your home
Whether the physician participates in your insurance plan
The doctors reputation in the community
Your ability to build a trusting relationship with the physician
The doctors ability to speak your native language or understand your culture and customs
While many of these issues do not necessarily bear directly on a doctors knowledge or clinical abilities, patients often choose a doctor based on what is most important to them. The issue of which type of doctor a patient with RA should see for treatment has been examined in the medical literature, and differences in care and in the outcomes of patients have been noted.
Tumor necrosis factor
A protein that plays an early and major role in the rheumatic disease process.
The more intensive level of care rendered by rheumatologists may result in improved symptoms and fewer visits to the hospital for patients with RA. Not surprisingly, however, this more intensive management leads to significantly higher costs than the costs for patients who are treated by internists.
What Qualifications Do Rheumatologists Have
As physicians specializing in rheumatology , rheumatologists are medical professionals who have first obtained a bachelors degree, then completed medical school, and, after that, gone on to perform their residency, training in internal medicine or, if at a child hospital, in pediatrics.
Once their residency is completed, student rheumatologists must then undergo further specialized training through a rheumatology fellowship. This is usually an additional two to three year training period and is meant to provide a strong rheumatology foundation for the soon-to-be attending physician.
After completion of their education and fellowship, the student must then pass a certification exam to officially become a board certified rheumatologist. Once certified, the new rheumatology attending may begin offering treatment on their own.
They may do this by opening an individual rheumatology practice, by joining other established rheumatology practitioners, or by working for a hospital which has a rheumatology division, such as Brigham and Womens Hospital in Massachusetts or Detroit Medical Centers Division of Pediatric Rheumatology, located in Michigan.
Rheumatologists must also undergo annual continuing medical education courses and ongoing training to keep their skills and knowledge of rheumatologic diseases current and up to date. One of the main providers of these types of trainings and educational classes is the American College of Rheumatology.
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