Suffering from an autoimmune disease is a stressful and difficult process. It may take time to properly diagnosis the symptoms of this type of disease and patients are often referred to a specialist who can treat them properly. There are 80 known types of autoimmune diseases that can affect several different parts of the body. This disease is the result of the body’s immune system being unable to differentiate between healthy and foreign cells. The immune system will then create auto antibodies that attack normal cells by mistake and the T cells fail to regulate a proper immune system response leading to continued inflammation. People recently diagnosed with a disease of this nature may wonder what doctor for autoimmune disease?
Depending on what areas of the body are affected by the autoimmune disease you may need to see physician who specializes in the areas that are afflicted. There are several types of specialists who treat these diseases such as a Rheumatologist who treats arthritis and other rheumatic diseases like lupus, Nephrologists who treats inflammation of the kidneys, a Neurologist who can treat nerve disorders like multiple sclerosis, a Gastroenterologist who can treat digestive issues like crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, a Dermatologist who treats skin conditions like psoriasis, a physical therapist who can help with stiffness, weakness, or limited movement, an occupational therapist who can help patients find ways to make daily living and work less painful, a counselor who can be helpful managing the emotional aspects of this disease, and many other specialists are available depending on your symptoms.
It can often be a long process to get properly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Sometimes the symptoms are the same as other diseases and each person may experience unique conditions. It is important to come prepared to your doctor’s visit by writing down as much of your family’s medical history that you are aware of. Often they run in families. Be sure to write down all of your symptoms to discuss with your doctor. It will most likely be required that a specialist see you concerning your most bothersome symptom. It is also wise to get a second or even a third and fourth opinion when dealing with an these diseases as they can be difficult to diagnosis and doctors can have varying opinions on treatment. The lack of a definite cure and the long diagnosis process can be frustrating but it is important not to give up seeking treatment.
Throughout the process of finding an acceptable treatment for your autoimmune disease, you may have to see several doctors. Immune diseases that affect several organs or regions of the body are usually treated by a Rheumatologist, while autoimmune diseases that only affect one organ are seen by a specialist in that specific area. While some of the diseases are known to be inherited, others do not have a hereditary link. This is part of what makes autoimmune diseases a mysterious and tricky illness to deal with. It can be easy to loose patience and feel defeated but being persistent and documenting your symptoms will help get you to the right doctor for the best treatment to manage your condition.