What Happens at Your First Rheumatologist Appointment?

If you or your general physician suspect you may have rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or a similar autoimmune condition, then you will likely be referred to a rheumatologist — a doctor who specializes in these conditions — for diagnosis and treatment. As with seeing any specialist, that first appointment can be a little nerve-wracking if you do not know what to expect. So here's what tends to happen at patients' first rheumatologist appointments.

1. Discuss Your Medical History

Family history and your own health history are very important in diagnosing autoimmune diseases. Your doctor will want to know, in plenty of detail, about any health conditions your immediate family members have been diagnosed with. They will also want to know about all of your own prior diagnoses, and probably also about any undiagnosed symptoms and ailments you have suffered from over the years.

Autoimmune conditions can present very differently in different patients, so do not assume anything is irrelevant or not worth mentioning. Your doctor will probably also ask you questions about your lifestyle, such as where you work, how much sleep you get, and what you eat. Answer as completely and as honestly as you can.

2. Undergo a Complete Physical Exam

After the discussion part of the exam, your rheumatologist will likely conduct a complete physical exam. Expect them to be far more thorough than your general doctor. They will want to look over all of your skin and flex all of your joints. This may be a little uncomfortable, particularly if your joints are sore, but it should not be overly painful. During the physical exam, your rheumatologist will also listen to your heart and lungs using a stethoscope.

3. Get Blood Tests

Finally, your rheumatologist will take a blood sample to send to the lab. At some doctor's offices, the nurse will come in and collect the blood sample rather than the doctor doing this. The blood will be sent away, and your doctor will explain what the lab will be looking for. In most cases, they'll be looking for certain antibodies and for a high white blood cell count to indicate you have an autoimmune disease. You should get the results within a few days.

Since rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune conditions are diagnosed based on health history, symptoms, and blood test results in most cases, the format above is to be expected at your first visit to a rheumatologist. Contact services like Sarasota Arthritis Center to learn more about your first appointment.

About Me

A Look at Health and the Medical Field

The medical field is dedicated to helping you maintain your health. However, your health also extends beyond what can be achieved in a doctor's office. To remain in good health, you need to also take good care of yourself on a day-to-day basis. That care has to take both mental and physical health into account, too. Health can mean going to the gym more often, paying attention to what you eat, or taking a walk around the block every day. It can also mean seeking care from a dentist, an optometrist, or a massage therapist. We explore the breadth of health on this website.



Latest Posts

19 April 2023
If your child has been diagnosed with autism, it is important to understand that every child's journey is unique. While traditional therapies may work

14 March 2023
Botox injections have become one of the most widely used procedures in the world. Facial botox is a frequent choice to address both practical and aest

3 February 2023
Back pain is never ideal, and a lot of back pain is associated with the discs in the lower back. The discs in the back are associated with the spine a