My Aching Joints! COULD IT BE Rheumatoid Arthritis?
In the event that you’re getting joint pain, tell your loved ones doctor. Treating early might help prevent or decrease lifelong disability.
by Dr. Shweta Akhouri
Linda (not really her real name) is really a 60-year-old woman who found notice me as a fresh patient. She mentioned that her main health concern has been “terrible arthritis” in her knees and ankles. It experienced slowly gotten worsen as time passes to the stage that she often got to employ a wheelchair.
There are several forms of arthritis. When people discuss arthritis, they often mean osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative or “deterioration” arthritis). It’s the most typical kind. It leads to the cushion layer in the middle of your bones (known as the cartilage) to use away as time passes.
I provided Linda a physical exam and inquired more descriptive questions about her condition. She described the next symptoms:
- Pain in both knees, both ankles, and the fingers in both of your hands
- Joint stiffness that’s worse immediately after she wakes up but slowly will get better throughout the day
- Joint swelling with finger deformities in both of your hands
She also explained that her symptoms didn’t enhance when she got an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever.
I viewed the X-ray images of Linda’s knees that she acquired delivered with her to the visit. She have been informed that her arthritis had been probably caused by getting older. But her X-rays only demonstrated mild age-associated changes in her knees. These images didn’t describe the severe symptoms she referred to. I suspected that she may have a condition known as rheumatoid arthritis. I purchased some blood tests and requested Linda to check out up with me in weekly.
Arthritis rheumatoid (also known as RA) is a sort of arthritis and a kind of autoimmune disease. It occurs once the body’s disease fighting capability attacks its joint tissue. This leads to inflammation (swelling) in the liner of the joints. RA can be 2-3 3 times more prevalent in women than in men. Outward indications of RA usually develop in adults that are within their 60s.
I suspect an analysis of RA whenever a patient provides pain in joints on both sides of your body (for example, both of your hands or both knees). That is not the same as osteoarthritis. It generally only affects one group of joints. Another distinction is certainly that joint stiffness from RA will be worse each morning and slowly boosts as the day will go on. Pain from osteoarthritis will get worse with activity and better with rest.
When Linda returned to my office for a follow-up search for a week later, I described her new diagnosis of arthritis rheumatoid. I informed her that RA is really a lifelong condition. There is absolutely no cure for RA. But you can find treatment options to alleviate symptoms, reduce pain, avoid future damage, and enhance standard of living. I scheduled a trip for Linda to visit a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is really a doctor who focuses on treating issues with joints and soft tissues.
Because I work in a little town, it’s not necessarily possible for my patients to visit a subspecialist immediately. In Linda’s case, the initial available appointment with the rheumatologist has been in a few months. Linda’s care had been in my own hands until then. Fortunately, as a family group doctor, I’m been trained in every area of medicine for children and adults.
I began treatment with prescription medicines immediately. It’s vital that you begin treatment for RA soon after diagnosis. This prevents even more joint damage and lack of movement. I also suggested lifestyle changes to greatly help ease Linda’s symptoms. For instance, I recommended some gentle exercises she could try out. (Find out more about RA risk factors, symptoms, and treatment plans, including medicines and changes in lifestyle.)
As Linda’s doctor, I continue steadily to work closely with the rheumatologist to supply the best look after Linda. I also treat any health problems that she’s. Her RA symptoms begun to improve soon after she began treatment. Nine months after her first stop by at my office, Linda could walk with hardly any assistance.
It isn’t an easy task to hear which you have a chronic (long-term) condition like arthritis rheumatoid. You might feel unsure about how exactly managing it’ll affect your life. In the event that you’re having trouble dealing with a fresh diagnosis, speak to your family doctor. They might answer your questions, supply useful resources, and support you in finding the give you support need.