Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic form of arthritis that involves joints, tendons, and blood vessels. It ultimately leads to joint destruction. The cause of this disease is an immune mechanism, in which the body does not recognize some of its own tissues and considers them foreign. Both knees are commonly involved.
The symptoms may vary in severity over time. One of the telltale signs is a young person who has crippling deformities of the joints of the hand. Other symptoms include:
Early morning stiffness, which lasts more than half an hour.
Pain and swelling in many joints in the limbs.
Nodules felt under the skin especially near the elbows.
Knees are bent.
Moving about becomes very difficult.
Who is at risk?
Women in the age group 20- 50 are more prone to the disease.
Elderly age group.
The doctor diagnoses the disease based on the history of the patient and the family. He may advise some blood tests like the Latex test. In advanced stages, x Rays show loss of joint space and soft tissue swelling.
The condition is treated by a rheumatologist to start with. As the first line of treatment, anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed. The aim is to reduce the inflammation inside the joints to halt the pace of joint destruction. If the patient is not responding then other drugs may be used.
When knee joint destruction has occurred, then the only way to help the patient move is by Kneejoint replacement. This is done by orthopedic surgeons like me.