When your primary doctor suspects or diagnoses an autoimmune disorder that affects a particular system of your body, he/she may refer you to a specialist who has been trained to treat autoimmune diseases.
Because autoimmune disorders can affect just about any system in your body, most physicians have treated patients with these conditions from time to time.
Depending on the specific autoimmune disorder you're diagnosed with, and the symptoms you are experiencing, you may see some of these health care professionals in addition to your primary care physician:
Rheumatologist - People who have rheumatoid arthritis will need to consult with a rheumatologist, a doctor who has been trained to deal with arthritis and related diseases.
Endocrinologist - Because many autoimmune disorders affect the glands, organs that produce important hormones, you may need to consult an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in glandular diseases.
Gastroenterologist - Gastroenterologists may be a part of your health care team if your autoimmune disorder is affecting your intestinal tract.
Nephrologist - If your disorder affects the kidneys' ability to clean your blood and produce urine, you may need to consult a nephrologist, a doctor who specializes in kidney function.
Neurologist - People who have autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis that affect the nervous system may work with a neurologist.
Dermatologist - If your autoimmune disorder is associated with skin symptoms, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist, who has been trained to manage diseases of the skin.
Occupational Therapist - An occupational therapist is a health care professional who helps people who have problems with daily activities. Occupational therapy may involve using special equipment that can ease the burden on your body when you do these activities, or making changes to your environment so that they become easier to do.
Physical Therapist - Some autoimmune disorders can result in stiffness, muscle weakness, and problems with movement. If this is the case for you, physical therapy might help you to stay as functional as possible.
Speech Therapist - Certain autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis, may eventually affect your ability to talk. In this situation, a speech therapist can work with you to address any speech problems.
Vocational therapist - If your autoimmune disorder makes it difficult for you to perform your current job, a vocational therapist may be help to help you to find a more suitable position.
Chiropractor - When an autoimmune disorder affects the musculoskeletal system, a chiropractor can be helpful in relieving symptoms such as muscle spasms and back pain.
Counselor - Coping with an autoimmune disorder diagnosis can be difficult; a counselor can provide you with the emotional support you need to help you deal with feelings of denial, fear, and frustration.