At Kootenai Clinic Rheumatology, our experienced physicians and staff treat patients with a variety of disorders and symptoms including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, gout. Our team helps patients improve their quality of life and resolve issues that make day-to-day activities painful. Our specialists are committed to helping patients get back to the activities they love through specialized treatments and care plans.
Rheumatology is the study of rheumatism, arthritis, and other disorders of the joints, muscles, and ligaments.
A rheumatologist is an internist who received further training in the diagnosis (detection) and treatment of musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions commonly referred to as rheumatic diseases.
Nearly 1.3 million people have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This rheumatic disease destroys the synovial tissue — the lining of joints — causing swelling, pain, and stiffness throughout the body. Unlike other rheumatic diseases, RA symptoms tend to occur symmetrically — meaning that if your right hand is affected, your left hand will be also. Women are two to three times more likely than men to have RA.
This is a form of arthritis that occurs in people with the skin disorder psoriasis. This painful disease affects joints of fingers and toes and creates visible changes in finger- and toenails.
This is the most common of the spondyloarthropies, rheumatic diseases that specifically affect the spine. Ankylosing spondylitis, most common in young adults, also inflames tendons in the hips, knees, and shoulders, causing pain and stiffness.
Technically called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), this rheumatic disease is an autoimmune disease. About 150,000 people are living with lupus, which attacks the body’s own healthy cells and tissues, causing damage to joints and organs throughout the body. Ninety percent of people with lupus are female.
About 2.1 million adults have this rheumatic disease, which is characterized by uric acid crystals in the joints — most often the big toe — that cause episodes of pain and swelling. Gout is more often a problem for men than women.
How to Prepare for Your Visit
Your rheumatologist will want to better understand your symptoms. Be prepared to answer questions, like:
- What are your symptoms?
- How often do you have symptoms?
- What makes you feel better? (exercise, rest, medicine)
- What makes you feel worse? (Lack of activity, not enough sleep, stress, eating a certain kind of food)
- What activities cause pain? (Walking, bending, reaching, sitting for too long?)
- Where on your body is the pain?
- Which words best describe your pain? (Dull, sharp, stabbing, throbbing, burning, aching, cramping, radiating?)
- How does the pain make you feel? (tired, upset, sick)
- Does it stop you from doing things you enjoy? (gardening, shopping, taking care of children, having sex)
- Are there symptoms other than joint, muscle, or bone pain that seem to be linked? (rashes, itching, dry mouth or eyes, fevers, infections)