If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you should see a primary care provider (PCP). This is true even if you already see a rheumatologist. Your PCP is very important to your medical care. They perform most of your routine care such as:
- Wellness check-ups and lifestyle counseling
- Annual physical exams
- Regular sick or injury visits
- Cancer and chronic disease screening
- Common chronic condition management, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
- Refer you to and manage care with specialist doctors, such as your rheumatologist
Your rheumatologist is a special doctor. They have extra medical training. It makes them experts who detect and treat rheumatic diseases. These are diseases which affect the joints, bones, and muscles. Some also affect the immune system. They include common conditions such as RA, osteoarthritis, and gout. Less common conditions are lupus, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases. Your rheumatologist’s main job is to focus on your rheumatic disease.
Talk to both your PCP and rheumatologist. Make sure they both know everything that is going on with you. Your PCP can help make sure all your medical needs are being met.
Help all your doctors be part of the team that treats the whole you!