Rheumatologist

What is a rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones.

 
Photo of a rheumalologist examining an x-ray with a patient.

When should I see a rheumatologist?

It is important to see a rheumatologist as soon as possible when you notice signs of psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Common symptoms can include stiffness, pain, swelling and tenderness in the joints, tendons or ligaments. You 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 PsA 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, reduce 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. Be as clear and specific as possible.

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Pain Level

Explain how intense each symptom is. You may want to use a scale from 0 to 10, in which 10 is extremely intense.

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Location

Discuss where you experience each symptom, including how many joints are impacted.

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Symptom Duration

Explain how long your symptoms last. Do they come and go, or are they constant? How do they change over time?

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Screening

Use NPF's PEST screening tool and share your results with your rheumatologist.

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
  • The PsA treatment guideline released in 2018 by NPF and the American College of Rheumatology

Set goals with your rheumatologist to determine the success of your treatment. Finding the treatment that provides the most relief may take time. Work closely with your rheumatologist to ensure you are meeting your treatment goals or if an adjustment is appropriate.

Find a Rheumatologist

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Patient Navigation Center

The NPF Patient Navigation Center can help you locate and connect with a rheumatologist who has experience treating PsA.

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Search Our Provider Directory

You can also search NPF's robust health care provider directory to find and connect with a rheumatologist or dermatologist in your area.

Get Ready for Your Next Appointment

Request a free Appointment Prep Kit to help you prepare for your next appointment. Make the most of your time with your health care provider.

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