Diagnosis and Care

Dr. Sayers is a rheumatologist.  This subspecialty of internal medicine focuses on certain diseases of the immune system (autoimmune diseases) in which the immune system attacks native tissue as if it were foreign causing a variety of systemic (whole body) problems.  In a sense, the body turns against itself. This specialty also focuses on specific types of arthritis that involve inflammation and/or the immune system.  

Rheumatic or autoimmune diseases are complicated diseases that are often difficult to diagnose and may require ongoing treatment over a period of many years.  Many of the treatments that we use are quite disease specific in that they only help certain conditions.  As such, it is critical that an accurate diagnosis is arrived at.  We understand that when you don’t feel well you want answers quickly and we will work to move the process along as efficiently as possible.  Sometimes the diagnosis is obvious and can be made at the first visit.  Usually it takes investigation with lab tests and imaging studies and is a process that may take a few visits.  Occasionally, some conditions are only diagnosed after a more prolonged period of observation as the disease matures into a recognizable form.

In summary, arriving at a diagnosis is a process that will involve some or all of these components:

  • Your self-reported medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Review of medical records from other physicians or hospitals
  • Laboratory studies
  • Imaging studies (x-rays, scans, etc.)
  • Observation over time

Once a diagnosis is established, with your participation we will put together a plan for treatment and monitoring.  Dr. Sayers is a strong believer in the connection between body and soul and recognizes this critical concept in his approach to providing care. Dr. Sayers' belief in the importance of this was reinforced during his years at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, from which he received a graduate degree in Pastoral Ministry in 2011.  You are a unique individual- and that uniqueness means that the characteristics of your condition and your response to treatment will also be unique as well.  A number of factors in your life may influence your immune system and therefore your condition.  These factors go far beyond lab results and other tests and will need to be defined and taken into account as part of your care here.  For example, your occupation and its physical and emotional demands on you are important.  Your family life and relationships and how your condition affects them is important.   Your faith or spiritual practices are important.  Lifestyle issues related to diet, exercise, tobacco and alcohol use as well as stress management, mood disturbances and family support can heavily influence your treatment.

We believe that providing care goes beyond providing treatment.  It involves creating an atmosphere that promotes healing.  Dr. Sayers notes, "For your care in our office to be successful, I will need your help.  The relationship we develop will need to be a partnership between you and me, a relationship of trust, openness, respect and cooperation in which we work together.  Anything less than that stands in the way of a good outcome in your care.  Over the years we have developed a practice that tries to honor that relationship and your trust in every way.  In this practice we are honored to be able to provide excellent care for our patients.