Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disorder involving chronic pain in the joints of the feet and hands. The disorder affects joint linings and causes frequent swelling. Over time, the ongoing inflammation can lead to erosion of the bone and deformity in the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is classified as an autoimmune disorder. This is because the immune system attacks the body. Rheumatoid arthritis has also been known to affect the eyes, skin, blood vessels, and lungs.
Rheumatoid arthritis is most commonly diagnosed in people over 40 years of age. Additionally, it is frequently seen in women.
Telltale signs of rheumatoid arthritis can include:
In early stages, rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints in the fingers and toes, but as time goes on, it begins to affect the knees, wrists, elbows, ankles, shoulders, and even the hips.
It is often difficult for healthcare professionals to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis in its infancy. This is because early symptoms are similar to those caused from other conditions.
As your doctor conducts the initial examination, he/she will check for signs of swelling, warmth, and redness in your joints.
He/she might also use a combination of blood tests and x-rays to check for the presence of rheumatoid arthritis. Particularly, blood tests will search for a high sedimentation rate or ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate). A high ESR reading can be indicative of a chronic condition like rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured, but the condition is treatable. We use a number of techniques to help relieve pain and treat rheumatoid arthritis in our patients. Medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis include NSAID pain relievers, steroids, DMARDs, and biologic agents.
Therapy can also keep your joints limber and flexible. In severe cases, surgery is necessary to restore joints that are badly damaged, as well as replace joints altogether.
No matter the complexity of your rheumatoid arthritis, we’ll personally work with you to develop a customized plan for treatment. At our pain and spine care clinic, we are committed to helping each patient regain control over their rheumatoid arthritis. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!