Joint pain is torturing younger ones. It is still possible to see the walking of older people whose fingers are distorted. Is medicine these days powerless, unable to overcome joint pain and disease? Eleonora Norkuvienė, rheumatology doctor at Kaunas Clinics, explains why this is the case.
– Is it true that rheumatic diseases are caused by a disruptive and inevitable immune system? How do you suspect they are connected to rheumatologists?
– It is assumed that autoimmune rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic scleroderma if symptoms of swelling and pain in the joints occur within three to four weeks for the treatment of pain and inflammation. There may be other symptoms associated with joint pains: fever, skin rash, leg circulation – bleaching, bruising, facial swelling, shortness of breath, general weakness and so on.
Joint pains and other listed symptoms are not specific and autoimmune diseases are rare. Similar symptoms of joint damage can occur due to serious or chronic infection and other organ diseases. Sometimes, typical symptoms occur over a period of time, not all of them immediately, not all laboratory tests are specific.
Diagnosis of rheumatic autoimmune diseases requires experience, sometimes discriminatory diagnosis is difficult, requires a lot of research, not all, such as immunological, virological, radiological, organ biopsy or tissue damaged, etc, available in GP practice.
– What is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism?
– Two diseases are often confusing – rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism. The patient is sent to consult a rheumatologist for rheumatic disease and associated heart valve disease when this pathology is treated by cardiologists.
In rheumatism, children and young adults suffer from joint pains due to tonsillitis, but the disease does not cause any mutilation or other joint damage. After arthritis recovery, patients no longer feel joint problems.
It is not possible to prevent the disease because the cases are not known: once they are ill, symptoms usually match life.
And rheumatologists detect, advise and treat rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that causes many joints, especially the hands, arthritis and untreated can cause deformity and joint disability. The disease does not damage heart valves, although rheumatoid arthritis is more common in heart attacks, strokes, and ischemic heart disease. This is associated with chronic inflammation affecting the cardiovascular system.
– Is there any way to prevent rheumatoid arthritis? Is it possible to stop its progress? Why even the 21st century does this disease make a person disabled?
– In rheumatoid arthritis, irreversible joint deformities develop if inflammation is not interrupted in time. It is not possible to prevent the disease because the cases are not known: once they are ill, symptoms usually match life.
However, it is possible to prevent rheumatoid arthritis and management symptoms. The patient should be treated not only with symptomatic treatment but also with treatment that relieves diseases, preferably within four to eight weeks of the onset of symptoms. For these purposes, today we have a wide selection of chemical and biological medicines, and their availability is quite good.
In addition to conventional chemicals, many biological drugs for subcutaneous or intravenous use have been developed. Global practice also applies to Kaunas clinics. New types of drug molecules come to clinical practice – chemical drugs that prevent inflammatory signal transfer to the inside of the cell. However, in order to effectively manage the symptoms of this disease, it is very important to visit a rheumatologist who has to evaluate the course of the disease, the effectiveness of the medication, and if necessary – change, strengthen or t reduce the treatment. Only regular treatment adjustments, taking into account the patient's individual course and the disease, will create the best results.
– What are the risks of rheumatoid arthritis if the treatment is delayed?
– Rheumatoid arthritis is most common in the joints, the basic types of systemic diseases are rare. However, if inflammation of the joints is not suspended for a long time, there will be changes in the blood vessels and the internal organs.
If inflammation of the joints is not stopped for a long time, there will be changes in blood vessels and internal organs.
– Is it true that rheumatoid arthritis can be treated surgically?
– Much higher rheumatoid arthritis, which is the disfigurement of the joints we cause, can also be surgically corrected. Very often our prosthesis is joint. Surgery in rheumatoid arthritis is a solution to the deformities caused by diseases, but it does not really replace the long-term medication needed to treat the disease.
– The treatment is effective?
– We monitor every successful treatment every day. With the treatment of modern medicine or minimal disease activity without symptoms, the disease does not develop, reaching more than half the patients. We hope that such cases will increase in the future.