If you struggle with brain fog, mental fatigue, and trouble keeping your thoughts straight, then your general physician might refer you to a rheumatologist for diagnosis and treatment. This may sound strange at first, and you're likely to have a few questions. After you read through this guide, though, you should have a better idea of why you need to see this type of doctor, what they'll do for you, and what to expect from any treatment you might receive.
1. Why do you need to see a rheumatologist?
Rheumatologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating rheumatic diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis is the best-known for these diseases, but lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, and fibromyalgia all fall under the same umbrella and share a lot of characteristics. Brain fog is a common symptom of these disorders. Of course, it can have other causes too, but since rheumatic conditions are one of the most common causes, they're a good place to start. A rheumatologist is a doctor best prepared to look you over, run some tests, and tell you whether your brain fog is likely explained by a rheumatic disease.
2. What tests will a rheumatologist run?
A rheumatologist will typically spend a long time talking to a patient about their symptoms and how those symptoms appear in daily life. You can prepare for this by keeping a journal in which you note any symptoms or abnormalities in your health and what you were doing when they occurred. Write down everything, even if it does not seem relevant. Rheumatic conditions can have a huge array of symptoms that you might think are unrelated, but that can give rheumatologists more insight into your condition.
Your rheumatologist will probably also send you several blood tests. They will look for the presence of certain proteins and certain types of white blood cells that might indicate you have a certain rheumatic condition.
3. How will your rheumatic disease be treated?
If you are diagnosed with a rheumatic condition, treatment can help clear your brain fog. Usually, treatment involves immunosuppressant drugs. These stop your immune system from attacking healthy cells and tissues, which is the key issue at the heart of rheumatic diseases. You may also need to take corticosteroid medications to help reduce some of the inflammation throughout your body.
Treatment for a rheumatic disease can help ease brain fog and other symptoms. But first, reach out to services like Sarasota Arthritis Center to learn whether you have a rheumatic disorder.