The rheumatology team at UnityPoint Health - Meriter will diagnose, treat and manage a variety of diseases that affect your joints, muscles and bones.
The field of rheumatology treats arthritis, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, and joint pain, swelling and inflammation. The most common conditions that a rheumatologist treats are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren's disease, scleroderma, inflammatory myopathies, vasculitis, arthritis related to other conditions, connective tissue disease related interstitial lung disease, osteoarthritis, complicated gout and other disorders of the immune system. Some of these are very serious diseases that can limit patients' activities and quality of life.
Our experts will work together to provide the best treatments available and give them the tools to manage their individual health issues. They create an environment that is open and honest, and listen to the patients' concerns to help them live well with their chronic conditions.
What to Expect
Regular visits to a rheumatologist are important to catch any changes to your health early. During these visits, your rheumatologist will examine your joints to look for swelling, changes in strength or changes in range of motion. Also expect periodic x-rays and blood tests to follow active inflammation or joint changes.
At least once a year, discuss the "big picture" of your treatment plan with your doctor. This can include:
- A diagnosis of the stage and severity of your rheumatoid arthritis
- An estimation of the yearly progression of your disease
- If new joint damage has occurred
- Any changes in your level of functioning
- Referrals or the addition of new treatment team members, if needed. This could include physical or occupational therapists, psychologists, orthopedic surgeons or other health professionals.
Regular visits build the relationship between you and your rheumatologist. Your condition is unique, because everyone is affected differently. The more often you go, the better your doctor can understand you as a person, as well as your symptoms and how it affects your life overall.
For more information about rheumatology conditions, visit the American College of Rheumatology.