Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints. The disease affects people aged 25-50 years, more often women. There is no cure for this disease. Therefore, his treatment consists only in controlling the symptoms with drugs and the use of physiotherapy. Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to permanent disability.
The disease primarily affects the joints, causing chronic inflammation. But it also affects other parts of the body, such as the lungs, the heart, and the eyes. Although the disease most often affects middle-aged women, even young children can get sick. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown.
Symptoms and course of the disease
The most common arthritis symptoms include:
- joint pain;
- violation of the general mobility of the joints;
- swelling of the joints.
In particular, at the beginning of the disease there are pains in the joints of varying intensity. Soreness, stiffness worse in the morning, usually lasting more than an hour. First, the knee joints are affected, in addition, the joints of the fingers and hands. Swelling, pain on palpation means inflammation.
Patients also often experience fatigue and exhaustion. An accompanying symptom is fever, and weight loss may occur. In about 1/5 of patients, the symptoms disappear, but usually they get worse, the pain slowly spreads to other parts of the body. The functionality of the affected joints decreases over time, their shape changes. As a rule, the position of the wrist and fingers changes.
Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the lungs and heart, where rheumatic nodes form. They also often appear on the skin, especially near the directly affected joints, gradually increasing in size up to several centimeters.
Rheumatoid arthritis of the knee
is a frustrating and paralyzing inflammation that can affect one or more joints. There are different types, varying in severity, causes, and treatment options. The most common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which can occur at any age but usually occurs in adults over 40 years of age. 70% of patients are often women.
The disease can cause destruction of tissues lining joints, cartilage, and bones. In the chronic form of the disease, a person will experience pain for many years and may interfere with a normal life. Over time, these symptoms only get worse as the damage to the knee also continues to increase.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis of the knee
Symptoms of the disease can be detected even without special medical equipment.
- knee mobility decreases only after a night’s rest, which begins to manifest itself in the early stages of the disease
- sharp or aching pain; may spread to the entire leg
- swelling of the knee along with a local change in body temperature may be a symptom of inflammation
- redness and/or swelling in the affected area
As the disease progresses, the symptoms and visible signs of rheumatoid arthritis will increase. You can see changes in the joint even if you are not a medical specialist. If you start treatment before it becomes too severe, other complications can be prevented. Initially, there is a risk of developing other diseases due to an untreated problem, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Causes of rheumatoid arthritis of the knee
Anyone can get sick at any time, regardless of factors such as gender and age. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is a combination of different things, such as:
- hormones affect the menstrual cycle, so women experience mood swings during puberty
- injuries, failed surgeries or improperly performed rehabilitation
- infectious diseases
Stages of rheumatoid arthritis of the knee
The disease develops gradually, so you may not notice minor health problems. It has 2 stages:
- When the victim feels minor pain and becomes briefly inactive in the morning, they may not be aware of their early signs until they become less active again.
- People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis usually experience it symmetrically on both parts of the body. This will cause an increased level of pain and make it difficult to move easily.
- In severe cases, arthritis can lead to a range of symptoms. It is rare, but the disease can cause muscle and tissue pain. It can also affect internal organs, including the heart, lungs, and liver. Patients who suffer from this tend to have a higher risk of disability.
Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis of the knee
Doctors often use hardware diagnostics during the examination. The first thing they do is give the patient a blood test, which can help detect signs of arthritis, including:
- increase in ESR;
- low hemoglobin levels and a decrease in the number of red blood cells (anemia);
- the content of C-reactive protein in the blood is higher than normal.
In addition to the composition of the blood, the following are examined:
Knee x-ray and ultrasound
intraarticular fluid. The diagnosis is confirmed if the liquid has a low density, low transparency and a high number of individual cells – neutrophils, leukocytes, etc.
Urine for the presence of protein in it
Test for the presence of antibodies to immunoglobulins. You have a 70% chance of having rheumatism if positive
Creatinine or urea in the blood has been found to indicate a person’s level of kidney function.
If you are experiencing multiple symptoms, your doctor may order additional tests based on the results. The first signs to look out for are
- nodules that are often characteristic of rheumatism
- positive rheumatoid test result
- arthritis can also be found in other parts of the body
- deformity of the joint – either visible to the naked eye, or manifested on x-rays
- stiffness of movements.
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis of the knee
It is assumed that non-drug methods will have an effect earlier than drug methods, but more experiments are needed. Surgery (operation) is used in extreme cases.
There are many treatments that can help people with rheumatoid arthritis of the knee.
Pharmacopuncture is a modern, natural way to reduce inflammation and nourish the joint.
Shock wave therapy, which is used to restore normal blood flow in damaged areas. This can cause the leg to bend at the knee.
Vacuum therapy is an alternative to massage. Areas are compressed using low pressure zones to promote healing.
It has been proven that magnetotherapy has an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect on joints affected by arthritis.
Laser therapy has been clinically proven to be effective and safe. It has a beneficial effect on the immune system, can reduce inflammation and help with headaches. In addition, it helps blood circulation and helps improve the quality of sleep.
On the other hand, some drugs, in addition to the obvious effect (relieving pain, inflammation), may also have side effects:
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- basic medicines that start immediately after diagnosis and can be continued throughout life
- hormonal agents
You should discuss your treatment plan for rheumatoid arthritis of the knee with your doctor. Individual treatment may combine different methods.
Since this is an incurable disease, therapy is directly aimed at alleviating the manifestations. In addition to drugs that suppress the inflammatory response and slow down the course of the disease, patients receive physical therapy. The therapeutic approach depends on the specific stage of the disease, the age of the patient, as well as his general state of health.
During the inflammatory phase, a resting regimen is recommended, but it is important to maintain daily activity. At the next stage, treatment is aimed at preventing the formation of joint deformities.
In addition to medication and physical therapy, arthritis patients are advised to change their eating habits. It is useful to limit the amount of foods containing arachidonic acid (pork, eggs). On the contrary, it is advisable to increase the intake of unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins C and E, calcium, vitamin D.