Do you struggle with arthritis? Are you battling an autoimmune disorder? Are the swelling and pain ruining your quality of life? A rheumatologist is the right specialist to help you with the symptoms of these illnesses that are interrupting your daily life.
From lupus to rheumatoid arthritis, they’ll help guide you to better musculoskeletal and immune health. If you haven’t been to a rheumatologist or are looking for a new one, here are five easy steps to finding the right doctor for you.
1. Ask your primary care physician.
A primary care physician will be the first one to recognize your symptoms as something may fall under the expertise of a rheumatologist for more advanced medical care. The world of medicine can often be a small one, and your internal medicine specialist may give a ringing endorsement to a rheumatologist they are familiar with. It could be a colleague, mentor, or even a close friend.
If your primary care doctor is part of a hospital system or medical group, they may recommend someone in their department of rheumatology. This could be to your benefit to keep all of your blood work and appointment summaries under one umbrella in the system’s online portal.
2. Do your research.
Searching online for a rheumatologist is as easy as Googling “find a rheumatologist near me.” With a locator directory, you can find a rheumatologist that is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from your home or office. These search engines can also narrow your search specifically to your insurance coverage to avoid any exorbitant out-of-pocket costs to see an out-of-market specialist.
If you are already under treatment for a particular rheumatic disease and are moving, you can also ask your primary care doctor if they are in the know of a specialist in your new location.
3. Consider your ailment.
While rheumatologists are able to treat a plethora of illnesses with advanced understanding, it doesn’t hurt to find the best rheumatologist for your particular ails. Let’s say you’ve been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, you’ll want to narrow your online search to fit that illness specifically. This research could not only lead to the right rheumatologist for you but an entire body of clinical studies and trials regarding new or existing treatments.
This could also create a more in-depth treatment plan, with a doctor that has a better grasp on the kind of patient care needed to treat a specific disease.
4. Don’t be afraid of a consultation.
If you feel as though you have found the right rheumatologist, don’t feel as though you have to dive headfirst into creating a treatment plan and booking appointments into the future. Don’t hesitate to book a consultation to sit down and pick your prospective specialist’s brain. You may find that their bedside manner and rapport, along with their understanding of your symptoms, may make them the right fit.
You can also gain some knowledge of their background, qualifications, and their pursuits within the field of rheumatology. It may be a strain, but we are talking about your immune system health.
5. Be sure to keep in touch.
It’s important to remain transparent, and keep the communication going between you, your primary care physician, and your rheumatologist. While patient portals can help in certain hospital systems, make sure everyone is in the know, especially if you begin a new medication.
If you begin taking capsules from a leading probiotics manufacturer, be sure to mention this to your care team. While your digestive health is important, one must make sure that these probiotics don’t interact poorly with other medications. Probiotic supplements promote good bacteria in the GI tract, and these pills or beverages are helpful. However, in the case of illnesses like lupus, the body may be unable to distinguish good from bad, causing some side effects.