The majority of patients with Spondyloarthritis are diagnosed by a rheumatologist (doctors who specialize in treating all forms of arthritis). Psoriatic Arthritis is sometimes diagnosed by a dermatologist, but you will be sent to a rheumatologist for additional evaluation and therapy.
Your greatest resource and specialist on your Spondyloarthritis problem should be a rheumatologist. Rheumatologists, unlike your family doctor, are “specialists” who have completed additional years of specialized training to become experts in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis.
Symptoms might be similar to those of many other diseases
Getting a referral from your family doctor or general practitioner (GP) may be difficult and stressful. It might take 7-10 years for many people to be diagnosed with AS. There are several reasons for this, but the most important is that many of the symptoms associated with spondyloarthritis are unfamiliar to general practitioners.
Varieties of arthritis
Furthermore, because there are numerous varieties of arthritis (over 100), and symptoms might be similar to those of many other diseases, the GP may not think of inflammatory arthritis when a patient presents with symptoms of a less prevalent form of arthritis.
Over 4.5 million individuals living with some type of arthritis
Furthermore, depending on where you reside, you may not have access to a rheumatologist. Another difficulty is that there aren’t enough rheumatologists in Canada to treat all of the patients with arthritis. There are roughly 270 rheumatologists in Canada, with over 4.5 million individuals living with some type of arthritis — plainly, there are not enough rheumatologists to serve everyone who need therapy. There are also geographical differences in the locations where specialists work.
- Find out if you have the symptoms of inflammatory arthritis by doing some research:
- Pain in the lower back, buttocks, and/or hips that has lasted more than three months
- Immobility worsens back and/or hip pain, especially at night and early in the morning.
- Swelling and discomfort in joints that don’t seem to go away
- Back pain and stiffness that improves with exercise and physical activity
- Morning stiffness that lasts more than one hour after waking up
- Inability to continue working and living on a daily basis
- Eye inflammation is a condition in which the cornea of the eye becomes inflamed (ie. iritis or uveitis)
- Fatigue and exhaustion
X-rays, MRIs and blood-test
- Tell your doctor about your symptoms and how they remind you of inflammatory arthritis. Maintaining a trip might be beneficial.
- Tell your doctor if your family has a history of inflammatory arthritis.
- Your GP may order x-rays, MRIs, and blood tests before referring you to a rheumatologist if your symptoms are consistent with inflammatory arthritis.
The following information will be included in the card:
- The presence of inflammatory arthritis and, more particularly, a spondyloarthritic disease is suspected.
- Any clinical findings and your medical history. Morning stiffness, weight fluctuations, fever patterns, mobility, and the number and types of joints affected are all possible symptoms.
- All reports, including MRIs, x-rays, and letters from any additional experts visited should be copied.
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It’s critical that your treatment approach for managing your spondyloarthritis be comprehensive. It must address the numerous physical, mental, and logistical difficulties that a spondyloarthritis diagnosis might bring. Your treatment strategy should be tailored to your specific medical needs, objectives, and personal circumstances.
A strategy that works for one person may not work for another, so it’s critical that your doctor and other healthcare providers get to know you. Always remember to be fully honest and transparent. Don’t downplay any of your symptoms, and come to all of your visits fully prepared and engaged.