The question “When should I go to a rheumatologist?” is an important question to ask.

Typically, you would visit your primary care doctor or internist if you experience pain in your joints, muscles or bones. Your internist may prescribe medication to resolve the issues. If the condition persists after the medication is completed then your internist may refer you to a rheumatologist for an evaluation. This is especially true, if you have a family history of autoimmune or rheumatic diseases.

When should I go to a rheumatologist?

  • When you have been diagnosed with arthritis or a rheumatic disease by your primary care doctor.
  • When you are experiencing persistent joint pain and / or swelling.
  • When an abnormal blood test shows the presence of a rheumatic disease by testing positive for the following blood tests:
    • Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA)
    • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
    • Rheumatoid Factor (RF)
  • When your primary care doctor is having a difficult time diagnosing the problem over a period of months or even years.

If you experience any of the reasons above, see a rheumatologist because:

  • Some rheumatic diseases, which can change and evolve, are very difficult to diagnose without specialized training.
  • Persistent “everyday type” symptoms can be related to more complex medical conditions.
  • Rheumatologists are specifically trained to evaluate all of your symptoms and diagnose complicated medical conditions.
  • Irreversible joint damage can occur if certain conditions are not diagnosed soon enough.
  • Many disorders or diseases respond best to treatment in the early stages.