A rheumatologist is an internist or pediatrician who is qualified by additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones. Many rheumatologists conduct research to determine the cause and better treatments for these disabling and sometimes fatal diseases.
After four years of medical school and three years of training in either internal medicine or pediatrics, rheumatologists devote an additional two to three years in specialized training. Most rheumatologists who plan to treat patients choose to become board certified. Upon completion of their training, they must pass a rigorous exam conducted by the American Board of Internal Medicine or the American Board of Pediatrics to be certified. Rheumatologists who are certified by these boards are periodically required to complete an extensive recertification process.
Rheumatologists treat arthritis, certain autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorder,s and osteoporosis. There are more than 100 types of these diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, back pain, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and tendonitis.
Source: MedlinePlus and American College of Rheumatology
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- American College of Rheumatology
- This site contains disease-specific information and an excellent section with information for patients.
- Arthritis Foundation
- A valuable public resource, this site contains advice on talking with your doctor, new treatment methods, and information about specific conditions.