I have recently had a baby. I experience sore, stiff hands in the morning, swelling, hard bumps on the elbow. There is a history of rheumatoid arthritis in my family. Blood work is negative. Should I go to a rheumatologist?
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From your history, it seems that you are suffering fromrheumatoid arthritis. This is more in females, having morning stiffness of the joint and improve during the day and presence of nodules over bony prominences.
Yes, you need to go to a rheumatologist for proper evaluation and regular follow up. It is an autoimmune disorder which will affect various organs of the body at various stages.
If there is a delay in starting with the treatment, it can cause a restriction of movements of the joints, and involvement of other organs also.
Investigations to be done are CBC (complete blood count), LFT (liver function test), RFT (renal function test), X-ray, RF (rheumatoid factor), ANA (antinuclear antibody), HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), HBsAg (hepatitis B surface antigen), Anti HCV (anti-hepatitis C virus), TFT (thyroid function test).
Management is with NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and other DMARD (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) that can be decided after proper evaluation.
You can follow up with a rheumatologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/rheumatologist
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