Most of us have a Primary Care doctor who is either a General Practitioner or an Internal Medicine Doc. The Internal Med Doc specializes in adult care. This is the doctor we see for general problems (problems that wouldn't be cared for by a specialist like gyno, rheumy, ortho, neurologist.
We add the rheumatologist at the point where we or the primary care doctor suspects arthritis or autoimmune issues such as lupus. So we see the rheumatologist for the lupus related things . . . joint issues, pain, fatigue, etc. . . . until we develop issues that are bad enough to be best handled by another specialist (kidneys-nephrologist, lungs-pulmanology, endocrinologist-thyroid/diabetes/etc, , neurologist-brain/nervous system, cardiologist-heart . . . . and so on ).
The rheumatologist is best one to diagnose and treat the Lupus. But we still need a primary care doctor.
Some of us have several docs. I've had to include, over the years, about
three different orthopedic docs (shoulder, wrist, hip), a spine doc, pain management doctor, physical therepy, dermatologist, and of course the gyno. Other here also have nephrologists, cardiologists, pulmanary docs, endocrinoloigsts, and lots more.
Sometimes the primary care doctor is best at figuring out what specialist you need. Your recent issues with pain and shortness of breath are a good example. The primary care doctor should be able to direct you to the right doctor for your issues, if he/she can't address them directly.
In His Grip
AlwaysRosie "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"
Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum
UCTD, Inflammatory Arthritis, Diverticulosis, (recent dx - Sjogrens, Crohn’s 4/08)
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