The role of rheumatologists involves diagnosing and providing medical treatment to patients suffering rheumatic diseases, such as arthritis, explains the American College of Rheumatology. Rheumatologists also educate patients and their families about rheumatic diseases to help improve their quality of life.
A rheumoltogist's daily tasks include performing physical exams, assessing signs and symptoms, identifying joint disorders and assessing patients' overall health, since rheumatic diseases can damage bones, joints, muscles, and internal organs such as the kidneys and lungs. They also evaluate results of laboratory and advanced imaging tests and recommend appropriate treatment options. If further assessment or treatment is necessary, rheumatologists refer patients to other qualified health care professionals, notes the American College of Rheumatology.
The health information rheumatologists provide focuses on ways to cope with a long-term rheumatic disease, helping patients learn about medications and techniques to prevent disability or improve mobility, says the American College of Rheumatology. Many rheumatologists work in a hospital setting or a doctor's office. Some also practice surgical, rehabilitative or transitional care in inpatient clinics.
The education and training of rheumatologists include a four-year medical degree and a residency program in pediatrics or internal medicine, reports the American College of Rheumatology. Moreover, they undergo a specialized rheumatology training that lasts two to three years and must pass a national exam.