Rheumatology Consultation- Rheumatology
What is rheumatology consultation?
A rheumatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other associated illnesses. A rheumatology consultation is an appointment with a rheumatologist to discuss and evaluate the patient’s symptoms in order to initiate a treatment plan.
Who should go for rheumatology consultation?
Patients suffering from symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, visible deformities in the joint, rash, tenderness, stiffness in the joints, a warm sensation or redness around the affected area, nodules, should go for rheumatology consultation.
What to expect during rheumatology consultation?
A rheumatologist would examine the patient first and ask about the medical history as well as family history of arthritis.
Patient would be asked following questions:
- What are symptoms and when was the first time the symptoms were experienced.
- The intensity of the symptoms.
- What type of pain is caused such as sharp, dull, burning, or throbbing pain?
- Does the pain radiate to nearby body parts?
- Does the pain affect day to day activities?
The rheumatologist will also examine the joints to see if they are swollen or feel spongy. The patient would be asked to move in order to see the range of motion. In order to determine if the patient has rheumatoid arthritis or any other condition, a rheumatologist would advise the patient to get certain tests done such as blood tests or X-rays to look for signs of joint inflammation or damage.
Following is the list of specific tests which would help the rheumatologist to evaluate arthritis:
- CRP (C-reactive protein) test
- LE (lupus erythematosus) test
- ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) test
- RF (rheumatoid factor) test
- ANA (antinuclear antibody)
Based on the results of the tests, the rheumatologist will diagnose if the patient has rheumatoid arthritis or not. If the patient is diagnosed with the condition, a treatment plan would begin. The initial treatment would include medication, such as methotrexate or corticosteroids as they are most helpful for mild arthritis. If the patient is having an advanced stage arthritis, stronger medications such as biologic response modifiers may be prescribed along with pain killers. Physical therapy as well as occupational therapy may also be recommended to improve the patient’s condition.
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