Rheumatology is a specialty
A rheumatologist is physician who has additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Rheumatologists treat over 100 types of diseases, including arthritis, certain autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorders and osteoporosis.
If you have joint pain that persists for more than a few days, you should see your physician – discuss whether a referral to a rheumatologist is necessary. Many types of arthritis, including psoriatic arthritis, can be difficult to identify and diagnosis. Rheumatologists are specially trained to do the detective work necessary to discover the cause of swelling and pain. It’s important to determine a correct diagnosis early so that appropriate treatment can begin early, when there may still be time to prevent and stop damage to the joints.
Psoriatic arthritis is a complex disease that can change over time. It may be necessary to be seen by a rheumatologist multiple times in order for a correct diagnosis and an appropriate, individualized treatment plan.
Depending on if you also have psoriasis on the skin, and how severe your psoriasis is, your rheumatologist may consult with your primary care physician or dermatologist. Because psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are chronic diseases that can have heavy emotional and physical impact, it is important for your medical team to work together.
For more information about the profession of rheumatology, visit the American College of Rheumatology Website at www.rheumatology.org.