When it comes to an orthopedic knee doctor, Fox Valley residents might benefit from consulting with one if they have rheumatoid arthritis. When people think about this condition, they often associate it with people age 40 and older. However, it can affect people of most ages, including children. Learning more about this condition in young adults is important, especially if you are diagnosed. Overall, it is estimated that 1.3 million Americans are living with this condition and the age of onset ranges from 30 to 60 most commonly. However, it is possible to be diagnosed in your late teens and early 20s too.
Learning About the Causes
Unlike osteoarthritis, this type is not associated with the joint wear and tear that can happen as you get older. It is an inflammatory process associated with an autoimmune issue. This means that the joints are attacked by your immune system. Unfortunately, while the joints are among the most commonly affected structures, other areas of the body can also suffer ill effects, such as your skin, lungs, blood vessels, eyes, and heart.
Doctors have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of the condition. They know that the immune starts the process, but they do not know what causes the immune system to start attacking the body. Those with a family history do tend to be at a higher risk. As are women, the obese and those who smoke cigarettes.
Exploring the Symptoms
Looking specifically at the joints, they can become warm, tender and swollen. Joint stiffness is also common and is most common after inactivity. Fever, weight loss, and fatigue can occur. If other areas of the body are affected, additional symptoms are possible.
Getting a Definitive Diagnosis
This condition is not easy to diagnose, especially in younger adults since it is less common among people who are under 30 years of age. If your doctor suspects that you have it, imaging to better visualize your affected joints and blood work are common.
There are medications that can help to bring inflammation levels down, as well as slow disease progression. It is common to take a daily drug that works to help reduce your immune system so that it is unable to cause as much damage. Therapy and surgery might also be used to help improve joint health and function.
You can certainly understand the importance of working with a specialist if you suspect that you have this condition. An orthopedic knee doctor is well-equipped to evaluate your condition and make sure that you have what you need to enhance your well-being as much as possible.
OSI has convenient locations to serve you. The campus in Appleton includes clinics, a surgery center, MRI, physical therapy, and a skilled nursing facility, as well as a walk-in clinic that provides care for new orthopedic injuries.
OSI has outreach clinics in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location serving the Green Bay area, inside the NOVO Health Clinic in De Pere.
OSI is a proud member of NOVO Health.