Why see a rheumatologist?
Rheumatologists are often the best doctors to see for psoriatic arthritis, as they have additional training to diagnose and treat arthritis or related diseases that affect the joints, muscles, bones, skin, and other tissues. If not controlled, psoriatic arthritis can cause irreversible joint damage, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as you develop symptoms.
If you are seeing a primary care physician who suspects you have psoriatic arthritis, he or she may refer you to a rheumatologist.
If you are seeing a dermatologist, he or she may diagnose and treat you for psoriatic arthritis or refer you to a rheumatologist.
It is important to talk to your doctor about any medical concerns you have to help with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Making the most of your doctor appointments
Good communication with your doctor is essential to getting the best care. Here are some tips for how to have a successful appointment.
Keep a journal.
Logging your symptoms and how they affect you is an important tool for you and your doctor when getting a diagnosis, and then for tracking progress on your condition once diagnosed.
Get a Free PsA Kit
The Psoriatic Arthritis Kit includes tools and information that can help you better understand and manage PsA.
You’ll find a symptom quiz, tracker, suggestions for topics to discuss with your doctor, and more.
Make a list of topics, questions, and concerns for each appointment.
When you are first diagnosed, questions could include:
- What are the potential long-term implications of PsA if left untreated?
- What are my treatment options and how do they work?
- How long before a treatment takes effect?
- What are the potential side effects and what should I do about them?
- Are there other health care professionals I should see, treatments I should try, or exercises or classes I should take?
If you didn’t address every topic you wanted to cover during your appointment, forgot to ask a question, or are confused about something your doctor said, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor’s office and get the answers you need. Continuous, clear, and open communication with your health care providers is essential to getting the care you need.