Inflammation diagnosis and treatment
Do you suffer from joint pain or inflammation but are unsure which doctor to go to for help? A rheumatologist provides diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory issues. This means they can help with:
- Inflammatory issues affecting muscles, joints and bones,
- Connective tissue diseases that affect supporting structures like your ligaments and tendons, and
- Autoimmune diseases which are a result of your immune system attacking healthy tissue.
Many think of rheumatologists when they are seeking treatment for arthritis. And they aren’t wrong. Rheumatologists treat a wide array of diseases. The top joint issues do fall under their care: osteoarthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis. As part of your diagnosis, a rheumatologist looks at every organ in your body to determine the cause.
Connective tissue disorders
Connective tissues are what hold our body together. They are made up of collagen and elastin. The protein collagen is found throughout our body in places like muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, cartilage, and vessels. Elastin is found in places that need elasticity like your skin, ear cartilage, lungs, etc. When either of these proteins become inflamed, not only can the proteins be harmed but also the surrounding areas of the body. The cause for this inflammation could be linked to an injury but might be a genetic disorder.
Symptoms of connective tissue disorders can vary quite a bit. It’s most concerning when the symptoms are related to inflammation around the lungs. Breathing issues, fatigue, coughing accompanied with a bloody phlegm, and chest pain are all symptoms that should be seen by a doctor. Other symptoms that aren’t related to the lungs but could still be an indication of a connective tissue disorder include: numb fingers, white fingertips, finger swelling, muscle weakness, and joint pain/weakness.
What is an autoimmune disease? Some people’s bodies cannot distinguish between their own cells and foreign cells. When this happens, healthy cells are attacked. Researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes autoimmune diseases but there are certain risk factors which include: genetics, being overweight, smoking, and certain medications.
You should see a doctor if you are experiencing the following symptoms as they could be an indication of an autoimmune disease:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Skin problems
- Abdominal pain and digestive issues
- Recurring fever
- Swollen glands
Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease is often not straightforward. Many diseases do not have a test that will give you a clear diagnosis. A doctor will often need to run multiple tests and watch your progression. In the meantime, symptoms can often be treated.
If you are needing to see a rheumatologist, Healthstar Physicians has several on staff. These specialists are here to address your inflammation issues. The team is here to diagnose your condition and form a plan to help you live a healthy life. Aqueel Kouser, MD and Annette Waddell, FNP-BC provide rheumatology services at Healthstar Physicians Jefferson City. To make an appointment, please call 865-475-9062.