Rheumatologists Treat More Than Just Arthritis

When most people hear the word 'rheumatology' they usually think of rheumatoid arthritis. However, did you know that rheumatologists treat much more than just arthritis? In reality, rheumatologists are specialists in autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease is one where your body is attacking itself. There are several different autoimmune diseases, some of which will be discussed below. 

If any of the following symptoms sound like something you may be experiencing, you should talk to your primary care physician about getting a referral to a rheumatologist. 


Lupus is a disease where the body attacks its own tissues and organs. Most people experience lupus in flare-ups from time to time with symptoms like rashes, fatigue, joint stiffness, and headaches. More uncommon symptoms could include hair loss or fingers or toes changing colors. There are several different ways that your rheumatologist could treat lupus including immunosuppressants and NSAIDs. 

Hashimoto's Disease

Hashimoto's disease is where your body attacks your thyroid. This can cause many different thyroid problems, usually starting with hypothyroidism. People with hypothyroidism can experience symptoms like fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails, the development of a goiter, and more.  If you go a long period of time without being treated for your thyroid problems, you could develop an even more severe condition called myxedema. This condition can cause extreme fatigue and even periods of unconsciousness. 

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is basically arthritis in your spine. This condition can cause you to become stiff and in pain whenever you bend or stay still for too long. People who really struggle with sitting for long periods at a time, such as in the car or at work, should be tested for this condition. 

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre syndrome is when your body attacks its own nerve cells. This can cause a decrease in sensation, such as numbness or tingling at random times. While everyone may experience some tingling when body parts fall asleep, people with Guillain-Barre will have very painful bouts of this every so often. This syndrome can also cause muscle weakness, and if left untreated, paralysis. If you have painful periods of time when you lose feeling in certain areas of your body, talk to your doctor. 

A rheumatologist can effectively treat and diagnose autoimmune diseases. If you have symptoms that you think may be a part of a larger disease, talk to your rheumatologist. You could be living with challenges that can be greatly relieved with appropriate treatment. Talk to your doctor or rheumatologist today.