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Old 06-12-2012, 04:20 PM   #1
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harperb HB User
Suspicious of autoimmune - which doctor to see?

I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say I have been experiencing a wide range of unexplained symptoms over the past five months, and I'm beginning to suspect that I've either got one or more autoimmune conditions (thyroid and celiac, most likely) or a neurological problem (both run in my family). I have an appointment scheduled with a neurologist, but the earliest I could get in isn't until July. In the meantime, I'd really like to schedule autoimmune blood test(s).

I've been to several doctors and although a couple mentioned to me the possibility I might be having autoimmune reactions, none has bothered to send me for testing!

So, I'm wondering a) is there a single test (ANA test?) that would screen for all/most autoimmune diseases, or would I need multiple tests, and b) do I need to go to multiple specialists to have individual tests done, or can I just go to a general practitioner to get a broad screening and then follow-up with a specialist if any of the tests turn up positive?

I have read online several people saying their GPs wouldn't test them for autoimmune (I went to mine twice this month already and he totally blew me off), so I just want to figure out the best way to approach this because I have already wasted a lot of time with disinterested doctors.

TIA

 
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:39 PM   #2
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lala52 HB Userlala52 HB Userlala52 HB Userlala52 HB User
Re: Suspicious of autoimmune - which doctor to see?

Harperb:
If you think you have an autoimmune disease the best place to start is a rheumatologist. What exactly are your symptoms? Some autoimmune diseases can cause neurological symptoms, but you can also go to a neurologist. What are your neuro symptoms also. LaLa

 
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:01 PM   #3
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harperb HB User
Re: Suspicious of autoimmune - which doctor to see?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lala52 View Post
Harperb:
If you think you have an autoimmune disease the best place to start is a rheumatologist. What exactly are your symptoms? Some autoimmune diseases can cause neurological symptoms, but you can also go to a neurologist. What are your neuro symptoms also. LaLa
Hi LaLa, thanks for the advice. In January of this year, I had unexplained numbness/tingling in both legs that went on for a few weeks. No matter what position I sat in, I would 'lose circulation' (not sure if it was nerve or actually blood supply being cut off - I didn't have health insurance). Then, in February, I developed pain in my right pelvic region and under my right rib. Ultrasound of gallbladder was normal, as was blood work and urinalysis. I followed up with GYN who found a very small ovarian cyst on the left side, but no explanation for right-sided pain. We discussed suspicion of endometriosis based on my history and worsening severity of PMS/period symptoms. I went back on the birth control pill (continuously) in March as treatment for the suspected endo.

Since then, my symptoms have been all over the place. The pain under the right rib and pain in right pelvic region come and go. I have also developed extreme fatigue (I'll have a good day or two, and then it'll hit me again out of nowhere), intermittent nerve pain that is sometimes on the right and sometimes on the left of my body (abdomen, back, pelvis, arms). I have had IBS since I was a teenager, but it has definitely worsened (primarily constipation). I have developed unusual 'allergies' and side effects to medicines and foods that never bothered me before. I have random spasms throughout my body - sometimes I feel my gallbladder spasm (which causes severe nausea for hours), sometimes I get spasms in my pelvis, hip, back, down the back of my quadrucep. In the last week, I have also developed blurred vision in my right eye which is sort of the icing on the cake. I did have an eye exam (at Sam's Club, so not exactly a very specialized exam) just to rule out infection, and she said my optic nerves looked a little big but wasn't too concerned and suggested I could follow-up elsewhere for an optic field test if I was worried (and I am!). I have an appt with the GI doc on Thursday to rule out genuine gallbladder/colon problems.

My father has rheumatoid arthritis, as did his father. My father also has hypothyroid but does not know if it's autoimmune because he never got the test (he also doesn't really care - that's just how he is...he just takes whatever medicine the doctor says to take and doesn't think about it ). My aunt also has Multiple Sclerosis, which is a concern for me. Of relevance, I had another episode 7 years ago where everything in my body went into spasm and I had to go to the ER. I didn't have health insurance and couldn't afford an MRI at the time, but the doctor said at the time that she wanted to check me for MS.

So...it's been a bad year so far, that's for sure!

 
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