A rheumatologist is a certified internist who is qualified to diagnose and treat arthritic diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones. Rheumatologists can conduct tests and perform procedures that can help relieve the symptoms of various illnesses and diseases that affect the joints, muscles, and bones.
To become a rheumatologist, a person must attend college for four years, followed by four years of medical school. After graduating from medical school, aspiring doctors must attend another three years of specialized training in Internal Medicine. The Internal medicine doctors then complete a 2-3 year fellowship at a hospital or clinic where they treat patients other the guidance of an experienced rheumatologist. Most rheumatologists choose to become certified, and they must pass an exam from the American Board of Internal Medicine to do so.
Rheumatologists treat a variety of illnesses and diseases. They focus on diseases that affect the joints but can treat a variety of health problems that affect the bones and muscles, as well. Some of the most common include:
Rheumatologists use a variety of tests and procedures to diagnose disorders and illnesses. They may perform some of these tests themselves, or they may order the tests and have other doctors conduct them. Some common tests and procedures used to diagnose common rheumatology problems include:
There are two distinct types of rheumatologists, and each performs similar procedures on patients. The two types of rheumatologists include:
Since there are so many rheumatology diseases and illnesses, there are many different treatments, as well. Each disease or illness is treated differently. Some patients have success with one treatment, and others need to try several different treatments together to find a solution. Some of the most common treatments include:
It can sometimes be hard to determine when you should see a rheumatologist or when you should wait it out and see if the pain or problems subside on their own. In many cases, a doctor will refer a patient to a rheumatologist if he or she suspects a rheumatic disease or problem. You should see a rheumatologist for any of the following reasons: