December 15, 2001
Question from Oxnard, California, USA:
My 12 year old daughter has type 1 diabetes, hypothyroidism, and asthma. I have rheumatoid arthritis, Grave’s disease, asthma, and irritable bowel disease. I am aware that it is not rare to have a combination of autoimmune diseases. Is there a physician specialty that would treat this combination of autoimmune disorders? It is very difficult to receive care from several different doctors that have no expertise or understanding of the entire health picture.
It is true that these autoimmune diseases tend to occur in clusters in some people. However, the diseases are varied, as you point out. They involve the expertise of different disciplines. Except for screening for other autoimmune diseases, which can be done by one physician, I am not sure there is a specialty that favors all the potential diagnoses.