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Rheumatic Disease Diagnosis and Treatment

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Rheumatism is a condition that refers to various painful conditions that affect joints, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Rheumatic diseases are also known as musculoskeletal diseases characterized by pain, difficulty in motion and function in one or more areas of the musculoskeletal system. Signs of rheumatic diseases are inflammation, swelling, redness, warmth, joint inflammation, joint stiffness, joint pain in the affected areas. Rheumatic diseases are also responsible for damaging internal organs.

Common Rheumatic Diseases

Osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Lupus
Spondyloarthropathies — ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
Sjogren’s syndrome
Gout
Scleroderma
Infectious arthritis
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Polymyalgia rheumatica

Rheumatic Diseases Diagnosis

Diagnosis of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases is done by conducting the following tests:
Medical history
Physical examination
Laboratory tests
X-rays and other imaging tests

Reviewing medical history

While reviewing your child’s medical history, your doctor may ask you questions like:
Where is the pain
How long have you experienced the pain?
When does the pain occur and how for how long?
When did you first experience pain and how intense is the pain?
Is there a family history of arthritis or other rheumatic disorders?

Common types of laboratory testing

Antinuclear Antibody (ANA)-This test measures blood levels of antibodies that are present in people with rheumatic disease.

Arthrocentesis (joint aspiration): This procedure is carried out by obtaining a sample of synovial fluid from the joint by inserting a thin and hollow needle and taking the fluid back with a syringe.

Complement: A blood test that measures the level of complement, a group of proteins in the blood. In case you have low levels of complement in the blood, there are chances of you having immune disorders.

Creatinine: A blood test to evaluate your kidney condition or identify kidney disease.

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or sed rate): A measurement of how quickly red blood cells fall to the bottom of a test tube. The faster the blood cells settle down to the bottom, the more severe the inflammation.

Hematocrit (PCV-packed cell volume): Low levels of red blood cells (anemia) can be seen in people with inflammatory arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

Rheumatoid factor (RF): This test detects whether a rheumatoid factor is present in the blood(an antibody found in the blood of people who have rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.

Types of Imaging techniques

Arthrography: This is a diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, joints, bones, and organs onto film.

Bone densitometry (DEXA): This is an imaging study to measure bone density. This test is used to detect osteoporosis.

Joint ultrasound: A diagnostic procedure used to detect inflammation before X-rays show damage.

Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases

Treatment of Arthritis and other Rheumatic diseases include surgery and disease-specific medication for pain and inflammation depending on the severity of your condition.
Following types of medication is required to treat your rheumatic disease:
Non-narcotic analgesics
Narcotic analgesics
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs)
Corticosteroids
Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
Biologic Response Modifiers (Biologics)
The following types of surgery are performed to treat rheumatic diseases and arthritis.

Total Knee Replacement: During total knee replacement, your knee replacement surgeon removes some bone and cartilage from the areas of your bone and shine bone, where they meet at your knee joint. Your knee doctor will replace the knee area of your thigh bone with a metal implant and the knee area of your shinbone with a plastic implant.
Used to treat: Severe arthritis
Risks and Complications:
Loosening of the prosthesis
Knee stiffness
Infection in the knee
Urinary tract infection
Blood clots in the leg
Blood clots in the lungs
Pneumonia
Knee pain

Recovery time: You can normally drive again after 4 to 6 weeks, and return to work after 6 to 8 weeks. Physical therapy may be provided for 3 months.

Knee arthroscopy: During knee arthroscopy, your knee surgeon will make a very small cut and insert a tiny camera-called an arthroscope-into your knee. This allows him/her to view the inside area of the joint on the monitor. It is a minimally invasive procedure.

Used to treat: Problems in the knee joint and arthritis, swollen synovium, fractures in the knee bones, torn meniscus, torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments
Risks and Complications:
bleeding inside the knee joint
formation of a blood clot in the leg
infection inside the joint
stiffness in the knee
injury or damage to the cartilage, ligaments, meniscus, blood vessels, or nerves of the knee
Recovery time: You may be able to resume light activity in 1–3 weeks and other physical activities in 6–8 weeks.
ACL Reconstruction Surgery: During an ACL Surgery, ACL Reconstruction surgeon will replace the damaged ligament with new ACL graft tissue obtained from your hamstring. Regardless of the condition of your ACL injury, the best ACL surgeon can stabilize your knee and restore ligament’s functionality.

Used to treat- Articular Cartilage Injury, Arthritis, Osteoarthritis of knee
Risks and Complications:
bleeding and blood clots
continued knee pain
disease transmission, if the graft comes from a cadaver
infection
knee stiffness or weakness
loss of range of motion
improper healing, if the graft is rejected by your immune system
Recovery time: You may be able to resume light activity in 1–3 weeks and other physical activities in 6–8 weeks.
An ideal knee surgery candidate should meet the following conditions
Overall good health
Average or better physical fitness
Not overweight
Inspired to work through rigorous physical therapy and ReHab
Younger in age (under 65)
Has support at home for recovery
Have badly deformed joints

Are you thinking about or have scheduled knee surgery? We can help. Get in touch with our healthcare experts and know about various types of knee replacement procedures, pre operatives, post operatives, risks, and complications.

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