Frequently Asked Questions

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What should I bring to the clinic?

  • Health insurance information including authorizations or referrals
  • Any relevant tests or radiology images done
  • List of prescription medications and dosages
  • List of medications that you’re allergic to
  • List of questions you may have
  • Recent test results related to your condition
  • Paper and pencil to take notes

Who is a Rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist is an internist or pediatrician who is qualified by additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones. Many rheumatologists conduct research to determine the cause and better treatments for these disabling and sometimes fatal diseases.

What Kind of Training Do Rheumatologists Have?

After four years of medical school and three years of training in either internal medicine or pediatrics, rheumatologists devote an additional two to three years in specialized rheumatology training. Most rheumatologists who plan to treat patients choose to become board certified. Upon completion of their training, they must be certified by the Kenya Medical and Dentist practitioners Board.

What Do Rheumatologists Treat?

Rheumatologists treat arthritis, certain autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorders, and osteoporosis. There are more than 100 types of these diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, back pain, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and tendonitis. Some of these are very serious diseases that can be difficult to diagnose and treat.

When Should You See A Rheumatologist?

If musculoskeletal pains are not severe or disabling and last just a few days, it makes sense to give the problem a reasonable chance to be resolved. But sometimes, pain in the joints, muscles, or bones is severe or persists for more than a few days. At that point, you should see your physician.

Many types of rheumatic diseases are not easily identified in the early stages. Rheumatologists are specially trained to do the detective work necessary to discover the cause of swelling and pain. It’s important to determine a correct diagnosis early so that appropriate treatment can begin early. Some musculoskeletal disorders respond best to treatment in the early stages of the disease.

Because some rheumatic diseases are complex, one visit to a rheumatologist may not be enough to determine a diagnosis and course of treatment. These diseases often change or evolve over time. Rheumatologists work closely with patients to identify the problem and design an individualized treatment program.

How Does the Rheumatologist Work with Other Health Care Professionals?

The role the rheumatologist plays in health care depends on several factors and needs. Typically, the rheumatologist works with other physicians, sometimes acting as a consultant to advise another physician about a specific diagnosis and treatment plan. In other situations, the rheumatologists act as a manager, relying upon the help of many skilled professionals including nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, and social workers. Teamwork is important since musculoskeletal disorders are chronic. Health care professionals can help people with musculoskeletal diseases and their families cope with the changes the diseases cause in their live

Which Rheumatological conditions do you treat?

  • All kinds of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, gout, and inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Spinal pain
  • Connective tissue diseases (autoimmune diseases) such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), polymyositis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and systemic sclerosis
  • Polymyalgia rheumatic, giant cell arteritis and other forms of vasculitis
  • Metabolic bone disorders such as osteoporosis and Paget’s disease
  • Soft tissue rheumatism, such as tendon and ligament problems, “frozen shoulder”, carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Complex regional pain syndromes and fibromyalgia
  • Sports and exercise medicine

Is Specialty Care More Expensive?

You may be surprised to learn that specialized care may save time and money and reduce the severity of the disease. A rheumatologist is specially trained to spot clues in the medical history and physical examination. The proper tests done early may save money in the long run. Prompt diagnosis and specially tailored treatment often save money and buy time in treating the disease. Adapted from the American College of Rheumatology.

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