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Diagnosis & Treatment:

Which Doctors Diagnose & Treat Autoimmune Disease?

Margaux Thieme-Burdette December 7, 2021

Autoimmune diseases are becoming more well-known, yet many people are still experiencing delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. As finding answers can take years, seeking out doctors who have greater awareness of these chronic, immune-mediated conditions can help speed up the process.

Doctors Who Diagnose Autoimmune Disease

Medical specialists typically familiar with autoimmune disease (AD), and the specific ADs they often diagnose and treat:

  • Dermatologistsalopecia areata, Behçet’s disease, dermatomyositis, linear IgA disease, pemphigus, pemphigoid, psoriasis, scleroderma, vitiligo
  • Endocrinologistsautoimmune Addison’s disease, autoimmune hypophysitis, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, testicular autoimmunity, type 1 diabetes, Schmidt (polyendocrine) syndrome
  • Gastroenterologistsautoimmune gastritis, autoimmune gastrointestinal dysmotility, autoimmune hepatitis, autoimmune pancreatitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, primary biliary cholangitis/cirrhosis, ulcerative colitis
  • Immunologists – various immunological conditions and autoinflammatory syndromes
  • Internists – various chronic conditions
  • Neurologists – acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, autoimmune encephalitis, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, neuromyelitis optica
  • Rheumatologists – ankylosing spondylitis, antiphospholipid syndrome, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, Raynaud’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, Sjӧgren’s syndrome, Still’s disease, vasculitis

Holistic doctors who often identify and treat patients with autoimmune disease or other chronic, hard-to-treat conditions:

  • Functional medicine doctorsPersonalized, whole body medicine with a focus on finding root causes of disease. Credentials: may be a doctor of medicine (MD)
  • Integrative medicine doctorsWhole body approaches for optimal health. Inclusive of all healing modalities, including modern Western medicine and holistic therapies. Credentials: may be a doctor of medicine (MD)
  • Naturopathic doctorsHolistic preventive care and self-healing, informed by a combination of traditional healing methods and current research. Credentials: doctor of naturopathic medicine (ND or NMD)
  • Osteopaths – Preventive and whole body care through hands-on manipulation of the musculoskeletal system. Credentials: doctor of osteopathy (DO)

For more information on specific autoimmune diseases, head to the A-Z Autoimmune Disease List.

How to Find a Doctor

As everyone’s health journey is unique, do your research and find someone who is a good fit for you. Be open to hunting around, as well as getting a second or third opinion. Ideally, your provider will collaborate with you to find answers, manage your condition, and work towards healing. Remember: no matter how skilled or knowledgeable a doctor is, always educate yourself and be your own advocate.
For more resources on navigating your health journey, including how to prepare for appointments and communicate with doctors, download our free Autoimmune & Chronic Illness Toolkit.

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