Rheumatology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of all types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis, and autoimmune conditions like lupus and vasculitis. Rheumatology also concerns chronic joint pain, connective tissue disorders, Raynaud’s phenomenon and gout.
Rheumatology is a specialty within internal medicine, and physicians who practice rheumatology are called rheumatologists. Such physicians complete an internal medicine residency and additional fellowship training, specifically in rheumatology.
Because rheumatology focuses on very specific diseases and conditions, the HCM Medical Group requests that a prospective patient ask his or her primary care provider for a referral to see the rheumatologist. This ensures that the patient, the primary care provider and the rheumatologist can coordinate the patient’s care effectively.
Rheumatologists work with many other physicians including kidney specialists (nephrology), lung specialists (pulmonology), infectious disease experts, and neurologists to treat the causes and effects of arthritic and autoimmune conditions.
To determine a diagnosis, a rheumatologist compiles a thorough medical history, discusses a patient’s current symptoms in detail, and may order basic lab tests.