By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

My name is Teresa Tarrant and
I am a rheumatologist. But I describe myself as
a clinical immunologist, since I’m also boarded
in allergy immunology. And I see a lot of patients that have
the intersection of those two disorders. The patients who often
times come to my clinic have problems with their immune system. They maybe have
an overactive immune system. Some of those diseases
that I see in particular, are Sjogren’s syndrome,
rheumatoid arthritis, lupus. And the other group of folks have
a very underactive immune system, and would be classified as immune deficient. So they’re unable to protect themselves
from things in their environment and they have frequent,
recurrent, severe infections. A lot of patients when they come to
see me, I may be the third, fourth, or fifth doctor they’ve seen in
terms of looking for answers. I tell most of my patients that the best
test a rheumatologist has is time, because it’s often that they’re very
subtle in their presentations early on. What might work for one patient,
may not work for another. And so I think that open dialog and conversation about what’s working,
what’s not working, what we know, what we don’t know is a big
part of being a rheumatologist. We tend to follow our patients for
long periods of time. So we really do build relationships with
our patients, and that’s why that back and forth, and that dialogue, and
that communication piece is so important.

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