A rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. We recommend finding a rheumatologist who has experience treating psoriatic arthritis.
When should I see a rheumatologist?
Working closely with a rheumatologist is an important part of diagnosing and managing your psoriatic arthritis. It is important to see a rheumatologist as soon as possible when you notice signs or symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Common symptoms can include stiffness, pain, swelling and tenderness in the joints, tendons or ligaments. People may also experience swelling, fatigue and changes in the nails (such as separation from the nail bed, pitting or the appearance of a fungal infection). Untreated psoriatic arthritis can cause permanent joint damage.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the disease and control symptoms. It can help keep your joints healthy, improve your range of movement, lessen your pain and tiredness, and prevent permanent joint damage.
How do I discuss my symptoms?
It is helpful to track your symptoms so you can discuss them with your rheumatologist. Remember, be as clear and specific as possible!
- Be sure to explain how intense each symptom is. You may want to use a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is no symptom and 10 is extreme intensity.
- Discuss where you experience each symptom.
- Explain how long your symptoms last. Do they come and go, or are they always there?
- Make sure that your rheumatologist understands how your symptoms change over time.
How do I decide on a treatment with my rheumatologist?
Your rheumatologist will recommend treatments based on:
- The severity of your disease
- Your health history and overall health
- Your experience with previous treatments
Speak with your rheumatologist about setting personal goals to determine the success of your treatment. You and your rheumatologist can then see if your treatment is meeting your goals or if an adjustment is appropriate.
Remember, finding the treatment that provides the most relief may take time! Continue to work closely with your rheumatologist to ensure your treatment goals are being met, as your symptoms may change over time.