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Which doctor treats arthritis?
Which doctor treats arthritis?

Arthritis is any chronic or acute inflammatory joint disease. Which doctor should be consulted depends on what kind of arthritis is concerned.

Description of the disease, its types

It can be primary or secondary, which develops on the basis of previously received minor injuries.

Primary arthritis can be:

  • arthritis of the rheumatoid type;
  • juvenile idiopathic type;
  • spondylitis;
  • gout;
  • osteoarthritis.

The first signs of rheumatoid arthritis should be considered a slight swelling of the joints, for example, knees, local hyperthermia and pain.

Further, there is a slight stiffness in movements, which does not allow to fully perform the usual actions.

In rheumatoid arthritis, there is a risk of not only impaired motor functions, but also serious concomitant pathologies such as pericarditis, vasculitis, pleurisy, nephritis and some others.

Therefore, if you find these symptoms, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis occurs most commonly in children under the age of sixteen and affects the elbow, ankle, and knee joints. It is accompanied by an increase in body temperature, swelling, pain and decreased mobility of the joints, the appearance of a rash on the skin of the extremities.

This disease can cause in children a disturbance in the growth and formation of the skeleton, therefore, it is necessary to contact a specialist as early as possible before pathological changes occur that can no longer be prevented.

Spondylitis is inflammation in the area of the spinal column.

This disease is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Chills with arthritis;
  • Pain that gets worse when doing any physical exercise or simple activity;
  • Redness and swelling of the skin in the area of the affected area on the spine;
  • Limiting range of motion, such as turning and bending;
  • Smoothing the curves of the spine;
  • General malaise (fever, chills, weakness);
  • Loss of sensitivity in some areas of the body or paralysis.

Treating specialists

Which doctor treats arthritis? If you find the appropriate symptoms in yourself, it is best to immediately make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in this particular type of disease, that is, an arthrologist. He conducts diagnostics, treatment, and also gives recommendations for the prevention of arthritis of varying degrees and complexity.

The difficulty lies in the fact that not every polyclinic at the place of residence has such a doctor, since his area of activity is rather limited. If it is not possible to find an arthrologist in your area or even city, you should contact a therapist or pediatrician if a child is sick.

Primary arthritis can be treated by a therapist or pediatrician on their own. If the course of the disease is complicated by such forms as rheumatoid or juvenile, then you will also need to consult an immunologist.

If the disease proceeds in combination with gout, which, due to insufficient excretion of uric acid, can provoke it, you will need to make an appointment with a doctor such as a nephrologist. In addition, consultation with a nutritionist will be required, since the disease recurs and worsens against the background of improper nutrition, in particular, the abuse of chocolate, coffee, alcohol and protein foods.

If you suspect spondylitis, you will need the help of a vertebrologist. It is he who deals with the treatment of problems such as pathology in the spinal column.

Consultation with a dermatovenerologist will be necessary if the disease develops in parallel with psoriasis or lupus erythematosus.

Most often, having noticed a rash on the skin, patients first of all turn to this specialist, and he, in turn, will advise which doctor can help.

Diagnostic methods

Since arthritis itself is a rather complex disease, which includes many varieties and associated complications, an integrated approach is required at the diagnostic stage for an accurate diagnosis, as well as for prescribing the correct treatment regimen. Each of the specialists, including any doctor - a traumatologist, an infectious disease specialist, a rheumatologist, and a therapist - will draw his own conclusion based on the collected anamnesis.

To form a complete picture of the disease, the doctor will need to examine the damaged joint, ask you questions about the condition and sensations, and also check the limb (or other sore spot) for sensitivity, degree of mobility and muscle tone. Only after that, the specialist will prepare directions for analyzes.

Depending on the specific blood counts, it will be possible to make a preliminary diagnosis:

  • A complete blood count is necessary to determine the ESR indicator. At the stage of exacerbation of arthritis, it will be higher than normal. If there is a bacterial form of the disease, the number of leukocytes will be increased, and if allergic - eosinophils;
  • A blood test for biochemistry is needed to determine the level of acids - urinary and sialic, as well as fibrogen, which signals inflammation;
  • Immunological indicators can give an idea of whether the rheumatoid factor is elevated, whether the amount of antinuclear and other antibodies and circulating immune complexes is normal.

Instrumental diagnostic methods

These methods are applied in the next step after the blood and urine tests.

These include the following procedures:

  • X-ray examination is the main method for detecting and determining the nature of arthritis. Sometimes X-ray examination can be carried out in different projections: lateral, oblique and straight. It allows you to highlight areas of damage, inflammatory processes, as well as possible neoplasms and changes of a degenerative nature;
  • Ultrasound diagnostics is an auxiliary method necessary to determine the degree of damage to such large joints as the shoulder, elbow or knee;
  • Computed tomography, or CT. With its help, you can examine the joint in a transverse and longitudinal section, as well as find out what state the soft tissues are in;
  • MRI - allows you to see the clearest picture. Using the method of magnetic resonance imaging, you can best see the bone structures and soft tissues, as well as determine their condition. Most often, this technique is used if there is damage to the nerve structures, intervertebral discs or ligaments;
  • Arthroscopy. This is an invasive method that is used when it is necessary to examine the internal condition of the knee. Sometimes the procedure is combined with a biopsy of damaged tissue and joint fluid in this area;
  • Orthography. It is used to study changes in the cartilage tissue and soft tissues that surround the joint. There is a contraindication for this procedure - acute arthritis and sensitivity to iodine-containing drugs used for orthography.

If you notice certain symptoms of arthritis in yourself and do not know which doctor is treating this disease, the first thing to do is make an appointment with a therapist at your place of residence.

The field of activity of this specialist includes a wide range of diseases, so even if he cannot prescribe the desired treatment regimen for you, he will at least redirect to those doctors that you need in this situation.

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