Specialized doctors called rheumatologists diagnose and treat people with
Some typical examples of rheumatic diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis,
gout, lupus, osteoporosis and bursitis.
Arthritis is swelling, pain and loss of motion around a joint. More than
100 diseases cause arthritis and other disorders that result in stiffness
and pain in the joints, muscles and bones.
Rheumatologists do physical exams, order tests, talk with patients and
look over results. They try to diagnose whether the patient is suffering from
a rheumatic disease. Once a diagnosis has been made, a rheumatologist then
Rheumatologists don't do many surgical procedures. "We don't do surgical
operations or a lot of procedures beyond aspirating a joint using a needle,"
says Dr. Susan Barr. She is a rheumatologist.
Many rheumatologists work in office settings, diagnosing and treating patients.
Others may specialize in research, working in offices, universities and laboratories.
Rheumatologists keep regular office hours. They are rarely called to work
in the evenings and on weekends. "We don't have the same call schedule as
a surgeon," says Barr.
Rheumatologists need to be able to perform physical exams on their patients.
They must do fine procedures such as draining fluid from around a joint. "We
do many, many physical exams," says Dr. Michael Maldonado. He is a rheumatologist