A common question when someone is diagnosed with lupus is: Will I need a special doctor to treat my disease?
The answer is: Yes!
When you are diagnosed with lupus one of the most important things to managing your chronic illness is developing the right healthcare team for you. Because lupus can affect many different areas and organs in the body, many lupus patients need a team of physicians with varying specialties to work together for diagnosis, treatment and management.
First, lupus patients should see a Rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis, therapy and treatment of rheumatic illnesses, from arthritis and osteoporosis to autoimmune disorders like lupus. Rheumatologists have special interests in clinical disorders involving joints, soft tissues, heritable connective tissue disorders and vasculitis. They are trained to look for and treat unexplained rashes, fever, arthritis, anemia, weakness, weight loss, fatigue, joint or muscle pain — all of which are common symptoms of autoimmune diseases including lupus.
The Rheumatologist or Primary Care Physicians may also recommend, or refer, lupus patients to additional specialists to help manage the disease.
Top Medical Specialists Who Treat Lupus Patients
A physician whose speciality is diagnosing and treating conditions in the heart and blood vessels.
Medical specialists who treat immune system disorders. They study resistance to infections and diseases and help immune systems fight harmful microorganisms.
A physician who specializes in diagnosis and treatments associated with skin, nails and hair.
A physician who specializes in problems with glands and hormones.
A physician who is specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of blood disorders and bone marrow diseases. They also work with the immunologic, hemostatic (blood clotting) and vascular systems.
A physician who specializes in renal (kidney) diseases, kidney transplantation and dialysis therapy. Over 80% of lupus patients have kidney issues at some point.
A physician who specializes in disorders of the brain, spinal cord, spinal column, peripheral nerves and nervous system.
Psychiatrist or Psychologist
A physician who specializes in mental disorders. They are trained to evaluate, diagnose, treat, and study behavior and mental processes. They examine things like cognition, memory function, and behavioral changes. Depression, mood, behavior changes, anxiety and memory issues are common in lupus patients.
Doctors may also recommend Occupational Therapists and Social Workers.
*information compiled from Lupus Minnesota
*photo credit: ID-10057749/FreeDigitalPhotos.net