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Rheumatologist or Immunologist?

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  • Rheumatologist or Immunologist?

    What is the difference between a rheumatologist & immunologist? I have seen posts where many of you see an immunologist for your Lupus. Do you need both? Is one better than the other?

    Obviously, I'm still a newbie. Just diagnosed less than a year ago.


  • #2
    Heh Miss Michelle, welcome to the Lupus Site. As a newbie or an well oldie :lol: , we all still come here for information, support, to vent abut the bad, and to share the good. Look around and check everything else out. There is also a chat room. It is hard to say when someone is in there or not it is pretty much a hit and miss. Regardless, we would love t hear from you.

    Now for your question. You will see that there are many of us with numerous physicians and then there are those that may have a few.

    A Rheumy is one that treats problems such as arthritis as well as diseases as the joints, muscles, as well as bones. Some of the diseases that they treat are serious and life threatening while the other side of the coin is the fact that the diseases they treat can often be lifelong but when treated properly, those people live long lives. Some of the diseases are RA, OA, Lupus, Gout, OP, Fibromyalgia, back pain along with a host of other issues.

    An Immuologist is a physician that practices and deals with immune systems, as well as other immune problems and organisms. They check into the more scientific issues dealing with more of the intricate issues.

    I personaly do not have one here, immuno, that is. I think I have all the other bases as well. I hope that answers your question or maybe someone will come along that can answer better than I.

    Again, welcome



    • #3

      Thanks! Wasn't sure if I should inquire to my GP about getting an immunologist with all the other docs I already have. LOL One less appointment is fine with me.

      I'm from Michigan...did you feel the earthquake?



      • #4
        Hello Michelle

        I think most people have a rheumatologist plus whatever specialists are needed. Sometimes people see an immunologist too if they happen to have found one who specialises in autoimmune disease. A few people see a hematologist because their main problem is blood clotting.

        Try to get a rheumatologist who knows about lupus : not all of them do.
        It's worth making a special effort when starting out because it can save a lot of time and grief in the long run.

        Good Luck!


        • #5

          I see an Immunologist, who specialises in Lupus. He spreads his time between The Royal Surrey Guildford, Frimley Park Hospital and St Thomas (Louise Coote). I will also be seeing a Gastrologist soon!

          In my case he is so far very much better than the Rhuematologist that I was under and discharged from.

          My GP has also refered me to a Dermatologist and Chronic Pain Clinic!



          • #6
            I had been under a rheumatologist for ankylosing spondylitus but he dismissed my other complaints. I'm sure if I had pushed him he probably would have tested further but my GP ended up sending me to the immunologist who specialises in autoimmune diseases. She said if there's something going on they will find out. What I have found is that my Immunologist tests for everything. Text book symptoms were more suited to the Rheumi whereas the immunologist didn't care if I fitted nicely into a particular "box" or not.
            I think if you've got a few things going on (like my sisters & I) then an immunologist is worth considering over a rheumi. That's been my experience anyway. Hope that made sense.


            • #7
              Hi Michelle

              In my experience, it just depends which of those departments at your local hospital has experience of your condition(s). I see a doctor and fatigue specialist nurse at a rheumatology clinic because they have loads of experience with lupus. I do find it a little odd as I don't have joint pains and I do have lots of blood involvement, but that's where the lupus knowledge is at the BRI and they are very good.


              • #8
                I saw an immunologist quite by accident. I was being tested for allergies and mentioned my borderline lupus diagnosis. She did a lot of work at a Lupus clinic in a Univerity Hospital and knew a lot about lupus. She tested me again and diagnosed my lupus with certainty. I still see her occassionally but have now been referred to a Rhuemie.

                I think whoever takes better care of you is the one to see.