Swollen, Tender Joints? Evaluating and Treating Early May Prevent Long-term Debilitating Damage

Swollen, Tender Joints? Evaluating and Treating Early May Prevent Long-term Debilitating Damage

“There’s a misconception that inflammatory conditions affect mostly older patients, but they often affect much younger people in their prime—in their 20s and 30s,” says Amrit Sandhu, MD, who specializes in rheumatology at Valley Medical Center’s Rheumatology Clinic. “By catching inflammation of the joints early, we can help people save their joints and keep productive lives.”

A range of advanced treatments, including ultrasound-guided injections and infusion
 Rheumatology Clinic providers have additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Valley’s rheumatologists offer advanced medical treatments including injections with and without guided ultrasound, oral medications, as well as infusion services.

“Valley has a full infusion suite,” says Dr. Sandhu. “Infusion medications are very effective in taking away the swelling and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other conditions when oral medications aren’t managing the inflammation. Once the swelling is gone, pain improves significantly. Now more and more, there’s impetus to see patients sooner and catch the disease early so there’s no joint damage.”

When would you ask your primary care provider for a referral to be seen by a rheumatologist?
If you have swelling in a joint lasting 3 – 4 weeks or longer, you should see your primary care provider for an evaluation for a possible rheumatology referral.

Osteoporosis, a disease that weakens the bones and increases risk for fractures, can be treated by rheumatologists, the earlier the better
“More than 50 percent of women with osteoporosis get the disease between ages 50 and 65,” says Dr. Sandhu. “We don’t want to miss the opportunity to intervene and prevent patients from getting fractures and bad backs.” For early detection, a patient found to be higher at risk based on age, gender, family history, and some medications, can be referred for bone density screening by their primary care provider.

What inflammatory conditions do Valley’s Rheumatology clinic providers diagnose, treat and help manage?
Valley’s Rheumatology Clinic providers specialize in inflammatory arthritis and other autoimmune disorders including: rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, scleroderma, myositis, Sjogren’s syndrome, polymyalgia rheumatica, Vasculitis,  osteoporosis, tendonitis, bursitis and gout.

Valley’s Rheumatology Clinics are located in Renton and Covington. For more information, visit valleymed.org or talk to your primary care provider about a referral.

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