The month of May is Arthritis Awareness Month, a great time to educate yourself and spread awareness on the common condition that affects over 58 million Americans each year. Sufferers can experience debilitating pain and stiffness in their joints, limited mobility and a lower quality of life. Arthritis is the most common reason for disability, with an economic impact of over $156 million in medical expenses and lost wages. Keep reading to learn more about Arthritis Awareness Month and find out why you may need to see a rheumatologist.
Diagnosed with Arthritis or a Rheumatic Disease
There are over 100 different types of arthritis, and rheumatologists specialize in diagnosing and treating these conditions. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with any type of arthritis, scheduling a visit with a rheumatologist can help you learn more about the condition, treatment options and help prevent it from worsening. Rheumatologists also treat diseases of the immune system.
Joint Pain or Swelling
If you have been experiencing joint pain or swelling and aren’t sure of the cause, seeing a rheumatologist may be a good first step. While joint pain may be a common side effect of getting older or exercise, it also is often the first sign of a rheumatic disease. When it comes to arthritis, early detection and prevention is key, so finding out if your pain is a result of over exerting yourself, age or something more serious is very important. If you are suffering from joint symptoms, consider scheduling an appointment with a Southwoods rheumatologist for an evaluation.
Abnormal Blood Tests
If you are experiencing certain symptoms, your primary care physician may order blood tests to get a better understanding of what may be wrong. Some of these blood tests may include antinuclear antibodies (ANA), rheumatoid factor (RF) or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). If you receive positive results for one or more of these tests, a rheumatologist can better determine if your symptoms may be caused by a rheumatic condition.
While joint pain is the most common symptom, rheumatic diseases often come with other symptoms as well. Osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis, may present symptoms including:
- Pain during or after movement
- Joint stiffness right after waking up or after inactivity
- Joint tenderness
- Loss of flexibility
- Bone spurs
Working with a rheumatologist is one of the most important steps in managing and treating arthritis. WIth their guidance and expertise, you can create a treatment plan and prevent the condition from worsening as much as possible.
Southwoods Health’s rheumatologists are committed to providing high quality, comprehensive care and work with your primary care physician to ensure that care is coordinated.If you are suffering from joint pain and discomfort or other symptoms common to arthritis, ask your doctor for a referral.