Education for patients with rheumatological conditions ensures effective treatment

Knowing its symptoms, and the differences between the different rheumatological conditions allows a better diagnosis to be made by the health professional.

Doctor Paloma Alejandro, Rheumatologist of the Soto-Raíces Mindful Rheumatix & Medical Research Group. Photo: Medicine and Public Health Magazine. Fabiola Plaza.

The most important thing in the face of any type of medical condition is the continuous education of the patient and the doctors who will take care of these patients, taking into account the current prevalence that occurs in Puerto Rico, with the different rheumatological conditions, support is necessary between the two parties.

With the passage of time and the use of technology in medicine, care mechanisms have increased, which have gradually improved the quality of life of patients and, likewise, the treatments that are currently available have progressed. improving life expectancy and remission.

But this improvement is also a commitment of the patients; from them derives the symptomatology and this is how it is possible to reach a diagnosis. Currently, there are technological facilities that allow you to keep track of what you have been presenting before arriving at your appointment with the specialist or primary professional, who can guide you, since:

“Due to the shortage of specialists, since sometimes patients have to wait 3 or 4 months for an appointment, because we can’t cope,” says Dr. Paloma Alejandro, Rheumatologist at Soto-Raíces Mindful Rheumatix & Medical Research Group. This accompaniment of primary care physicians is vital for them to make this first approach and identification of symptomin addition to generating a complete exam with tests diagnosis.

“At least start some anti-inflammatory treatment, although it can be a double-edged knife so that, when they arrive with the specialist, it is a matter of starting the patient in treatment immediately,” confirms the specialist.

To the patient take this control that later shares with the professional, on their symptomfacilitates the process of diagnosistreatment and referral, complements Griselle Lugo, Executive Director of the FER Foundation.

There are parameters determined by the American College of Rheumatologists, which stipulate the specific symptomatology in order to generate a diagnosis accurate of the rheumatological condition that is presenting either:

It must be clear when evaluating symptoms by primary care physicians or specialists, since the different characteristics of these conditions can be confused.

“The most common question from patients is that they confuse osteoarthritis with another type of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, and sometimes it is very simple to explain to the patient the differences between them because, unfortunately, there are more treatments available for some than for other types of arthritis” , confirms Dr. Paloma.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Thought to be autoimmune and systemic, it involves chronic inflammations of the synovial membrane within the joints, occurring in multiple different joints on both sides of the body. This condition can involve other organs such as:

  • Heart

  • Lungs

  • Kidneys

“It can give you cardiovascular risks equivalent to diabetes mellitus,” says Dr. Alejandro, who also urges the search for information and the education of patients in the face of this type of condition, since, “unfortunately on the Island there is a lot of predisposition of these other comorbidities that increase the risk of dying from a heart attack”, or other conditions, confirms the specialist.

Likewise, it must be understood that not all cases of arthritis are inflammatory; this allows for a better understanding of how they are treated, diagnosed and coped with. Within the inflammatory conditions related to arthritis, there is psoriatic arthritis, which presents symptom such as joint pain, stiffness, and swelling; but situations such as:

“Each arthritis has a different treatment, and it is important to differentiate between inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis, because there are novel treatments that can change the pattern of the condition, especially in inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid, psoriatic, and ankylosing spondylitis,” he concludes. Dr. Alejandro, and exalts the importance of having a treatment that adjusts and is chronic, since these conditions deserve it.

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