Helping Your Rheumatologist Make A Better Diagnosis

Rheumatologists are experts in diagnosing autoimmune and rheumatic disorders. But as skilled as they may be at this practice, their jobs are not easy. They have to evaluate numerous tests, medical histories, and long lists of symptoms to decide which of a list of very similar conditions you're most likely to have. Luckily, there are some things you can do, as a patient, to help your rheumatologist make a better diagnosis — and perhaps do so more swiftly.

1. Share your family history.

Many rheumatic conditions have genetic components. Some conditions are passed down via recessive genes. Others are passed down via dominant genes. As such, knowing who in your family has been diagnosed with what condition can really help a rheumatologist narrow down their diagnosis. If you don't have a complete family medical history, take the time to call blood-related family members and ask. You don't need them to share every private detail of their health, but do ask that they tell you about any history of autoimmune or rheumatic conditions. Write down what they tell you and present it to your rheumatologist.

2. Keep a diary of your symptoms.

So often, a rheumatologist will be struggling to diagnose a patient. Then, the patient suddenly remembers they have a symptom that forgot to mention to the rheumatologist, or that they did not think was relevant. As soon as the rheumatologist hears that symptom, the pieces fit together, and they are able to make a diagnosis.

You can simplify and shorten this process by keeping a diary of symptoms. Write down everything and anything abnormal you experience with your body. Write down when you experience it, how severe it is, and how long it lasts. Turn this diary over to your rheumatologist, and let them use it to their advantage.

3. Have your other doctors send records.

Instead of trying to remember everything you've ever been diagnosed with and every medication you've ever taken, arrange to have your previous doctors send all of your medical records to your rheumatologist This way, you know nothing will be left out. You also don't have to worry about misinterpreting something a previous doctor told you; the rheumatologist can read the information in the doctors' own words.

Seeking a diagnosis through a rheumatologist can be really beneficial, but it can also be time-consuming and challenging. Hopefully following the tips above will help you and your doctors. Make an appointment at a clinic like Sarasota Arthritis Center to learn more.