Rheumatologists are professionals who focus on treating rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition that affects the joints, as well as other related autoimmune disorders. If you have been dealing with joint pain, it's a good idea to make an appointment with a rheumatologist. But joint pain is not the only symptom of an auto-immune disease. If you notice any of these less-recognized symptoms, you should also make that phone call and schedule an appointment.

Achy Muscles and Intermittent Swelling

Maybe it is not exactly your joints that hurt, but your muscles. Your legs may ache one day, and then the next day, your upper arms feel sore. You may initially think you injured yourself, but then the soreness moves to an area you did not really stress physically. You may or may not also notice swelling in the painful areas. This migrating muscle pain is a common early symptom of autoimmune disease. It could indicate lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or any number of related conditions.


It's normal to feel tired now and then. You might feel tired after a sleepless night or a particularly stressful experience. What's not normal is to feel drained and exhausted all of the time. This could be due to any number of conditions, including some forms of cancer. However, a few possibilities are that you're dealing with type I diabetes, Addison's disease, or lupus, all of which have autoimmune components and are therefore treatable by a rheumatologist.

Dry Eyes and Mouth

Frequent bouts of eye and mouth dryness are often due to an autoimmune condition called Sjogren's syndrome. Sometimes this occurs on its own, and other times it accompanies another autoimmune condition. You might assume the symptom is just annoying, but it can actually cause damage over time. Dry mouth increases your risk of cavities and gum disease. Dry eyes increase your risk of eye infections and corneal ulcers. If you get a diagnosis, your rheumatologist can prescribe medications to treat the dryness and prevent things from getting any worse.

Circulation Problems

If your hands and feet often feel cold and you suspect you may have poor circulation, this could be due to an autoimmune condition. The immune system can begin attacking your blood vessels, which can get pretty serious if it's not addressed. A rheumatologist can figure out if this is what's causing your poor circulation, and if it is not, send you on to a physician with a different specialty for more testing.

Rheumatologists do more than simply treat rheumatoid arthritis. If you're dealing with any of the symptoms above, reach out to a rheumatologist in your area, such as Sarasota Arthritis Center, and make an appointment.