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Inflammation and Arthritis

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How Are Inflammatory Diseases Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of inflammatory joint diseases consists of all or some of the following:

  • Complete medical history and physical exam with attention to the pattern of joint involvement
  • Evaluation of other symptoms besides joint symptoms
  • Results of X-rays, blood tests, and other studies

Can Inflammation Affect Internal Organs?

Yes. Inflammation can affect organs as part of an autoimmune disorder. The type of symptoms depends on which organs are affected. For example:

Pain may not be a main symptom since many organs do not have pain-sensitive nerves.

How Are Inflammatory Joint Diseases Treated?

There are a number of treatment options for inflammatory joint diseases including medications, rest, exercise, and surgery to correct joint damage. The type of treatment prescribed will depend on several factors including the type of disease, the person's age, type of medications he or she is taking, overall health, medical history, and severity of symptoms.

The goals of treatment are to:

  • Treat the underlying inflammatory disease and decrease inflammation
  • Relieve pain by medication, activity modification
  • Maintain joint movement, muscle strength and overall function through physical therapy and exercise
  • Decrease stress on the joints by using braces, splints, or canes as needed

What Drugs Are Used to Treat Inflammatory Diseases?

There are many drugs available to decrease joint pain, swelling, and/or inflammation and hopefully prevent or minimize the progression of the inflammatory disease. These medications include:

*Some of these medications are traditionally used to treat other conditions such as cancer and inflammatory bowel disease or to prevent organ rejection after transplants. Dosages used may be different and the side effect profile may also be different, but they are potent medications requiring close follow-up by your physician.

When you are prescribed any drug, it is important to meet with your doctor regularly so he or she can check its effectiveness and detect the development of any side effects.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on May 24, 2014
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