Medical Definition of Rheumatologist

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Rheumatologist: A specialist in the non-surgical treatment of rheumatic illnesses, especially arthritis.

Rheumatologists have special interests in unexplained rash, fever, arthritis, anemia, weakness, weight loss, fatigue, joint or muscle pain, autoimmune disease, and anorexia. They often serve as consultants, acting like detectives for other doctors.

Rheumatologists have particular skills in the evaluation of the over 100 forms of arthritis, and have special interest in rheumatoid arthritis, spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, Still's disease, dermatomyositis, Sjögren's syndrome, vasculitis, scleroderma, mixed connective tissue disease, sarcoidosis, Lyme disease, osteomyelitis, osteoarthritis, back pain, gout, pseudogout, relapsing polychondritis, Henoch- Schönlein purpura, serum sickness, reactive arthritis, Kawasaki disease, fibromyalgia, erythromelalgia, Raynaud's disease, growing pains, iritis, osteoporosis, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and others.

Classical adult rheumatology training includes four years of medical school, one year of internship in internal medicine, two years of internal medicine residency, and two years of rheumatology fellowship. There is a subspecialty board for rheumatology certification, offered by the American Board of Internal Medicine, which can provide board certification to approved rheumatologists.

Pediatric rheumatologists are physicians who specialize in providing comprehensive care to children (as well as their families) with rheumatic diseases, especially arthritis.

Pediatric rheumatologists are pediatricians who have completed an additional 2-3 years of specialized training in pediatric rheumatology and are usually board-certified in pediatric rheumatology.

See also Rheumatologist, pediatric; Rheumatology.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018