Doctors who treat lupus
A diagnosis of lupus may be made by any physician (family practitioner, Internist, or pediatrician) if multiple symptoms and laboratory test results point toward the disease. However, if symptoms develop gradually over time, as is often the case with lupus, the diagnosis may not be as obvious and there may be visits to multiple physicians before a diagnosis can be confirmed.
The form of lupus and its symptoms determine what type of doctor you will see for treatment. Most people with mild to moderate disease will see a rheumatologist (or pediatric rheumatologist if a child or adolescent has lupus), a physician who specializes in diseases of joints and muscles.
Since lupus can cause damage to any part of the body, other specialists may be necessary such as a:
- Dermatologist - a doctor who specializes in diseases of the skin such as cutaneous lupus
- Cardiologist - a doctor who specializes in diseases of the heart
- Nephrologist - a doctor who specializes in diseases of the kidney
- Neurologist - a doctor who specializes in diseases of the brain and nervous system
- Gastroenterologist - a doctor who specializes in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract
- Pulmonologist - a doctor who specializes in diseases of the lungs
- Perinatologist - a specialized obstetrician/gynecologist who focuses on complicated and high-risk pregnancies
The Lupus Foundation of America has a national network of local chapters that can provide a list of physicians in their service area who diagnose and treat lupus.
Need help finding a rheumatologist?
If you are looking for a rheumatologist, we recommend the Directory of Rheumatologists from the American College of Rheumatology.