What Is a Rheumatologist and How Can One Help You?

In the U.S., 24% of all adults have arthritis, and it’s a leading cause of work disability. Many of these Americans have returned to the activities they once enjoyed thanks to help from a rheumatologist. 

But what is a rheumatologist? Did you know that arthritis isn’t the only disease a rheumatologist treats—they’re also experts at helping patients with autoimmune diseases such as lupus? 

We’ll take a closer look at this specialty, the variety of conditions treated, and examine how a rheumatologist near you at Cary Medical Group can help. 

What Is a Rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist is a physician who specializes in diseases that affect the musculoskeletal system of tendons, bones, joints and muscles. They also treat systemic autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells, typically causing inflammation, swelling, pain and—in certain cases—organ damage. 

There are more than 100 types of musculoskeletal and arthritic conditions that rheumatologists treat, helping patients regain mobility and improve their quality of life.

What Do Rheumatologists Treat?

As we mentioned, there are hundreds of different conditions that rheumatologists treat. We’ve listed a few of them below:

  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Myositis
  • Tendonitis
  • Vasculitis
  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma (a disease that involves connective tissue)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

What Is a Rheumatologist and What Specialized Training Do They Have? 

After medical school and a residency, physicians who want to specialize in rheumatology enroll in a two-to-three-year fellowship. If they wish to achieve board certification, they must also pass a rigorous exam.

When Should You See Your Cary, NC Rheumatologist?

Often, bone, muscle and joint pain can be relieved through seeing an internal medicine specialist in Cary. However, there are occasions where this does not resolve after initial treatment, and the primary care provider may suspect that there’s an underlying rheumatic condition. In this case, you would be referred to a rheumatologist. 

It’s very important for you to let us know if you have any close relatives or family members with autoimmune diseases. This is because these illnesses have a genetic component and frequently run in families. 

We always recommend that you see a rheumatologist sooner rather than later because joint damage and other problems can occur in certain rheumatic diseases. A quick and accurate diagnosis is needed—particularly in the case of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis—to prevent permanent problems with your joints.

If you suspect you have a rheumatic disease, we urge you to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible so we can refer you to our board-certified rheumatologist who can begin your treatment immediately.

What Happens During an Appointment with a Rheumatologist?

There are hundreds of rheumatic diseases and diagnosing them can be complicated and challenging. Therefore, on your first visit with our rheumatologist, he’ll gather a complete medical history and perform a physical exam. As we mentioned earlier, these diseases tend to run in families, so your background is an important aspect of determining a diagnosis. 

Then, there will be a careful examination of any X-rays, ultrasounds or other prior testing to help determine the source of your issue. From there, we’ll develop a personalized treatment plan.

How Are Rheumatic Diseases Treated?

Of course, the treatment protocol depends upon your individual situation as we tailor a plan to fit your needs. Treatment typically involves medications and/or referral to occupational or physical therapists. In certain cases, we may refer you to other specialists who can provide joint/tendon injections.

Cary Medical Group Has a Board-Certified Rheumatologist Near You

We’re pleased to offer the services of Dr. Priyank Chaudhary in Cary, NC, he is board-certified in rheumatology. He helps patients on a referral basis for nonsurgical diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of various rheumatic illnesses. 

If you are interested in a referral to Dr. Chaudhary, just tell your Cary Medical Group physician, nurse or front office staff. Schedule an appointment with our physicians in Cary, NC today. 

For more than 25 years, Cary Medical Group has served as the Triangle area’s premier internal medicine provider. We tailor our treatments to provide the finest personalized health care available for each stage of your adult life. Contact us to schedule an appointment.