According to statistics, many people today live with rheumatoid arthritis, which, if not treated, can lead to deformity of the affected region. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory and autoimmune condition that can affect more than your joints. It can also have a negative effect on your lungs, skin, blood vessels and heart. At Osteoporosis and Rheumatology Center of Tampa Bay, Dr Jeffrey Miller specializes in managing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis so his patients can resume the quality of life they desire to have.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system begins to attack healthy cells in the body, thus causing painful inflammation or swelling around the affected region. This condition mainly attacks the joints, with the joints most commonly affected including those in the wrist, knees, elbows, ankles, feet and hands. It can also hinder various systems and organs, including cardiovascular and respiratory function.
In a joint with rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of the joint is inflamed and will cause damage to the tissue. The damaged tissue often leads to chronic or long-lasting pain, deformity and lack of balance or unsteadiness.
How To Know If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Being knowledgeable about what to look for when determining if you have rheumatoid arthritis is important since it enables you to know when to seek medical care for your symptoms. Having a fever, joint deformity, general malaise, weight loss, loss of joint mobility or function, weakness, joint pain, or swelling and stiffness, are just some signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Most of the symptoms normally come and go, making many people believe that the joint pain could be due to the joint overworking or caused by a simple flu or cold.
Since rheumatoid arthritis is a complex health condition, a proper diagnosis can be quite difficult. Therefore, qualified and experienced specialists are very keen on determining the exact cause of your symptoms. However, there is no test for rheumatoid arthritis that currently exists. While blood work provides some clues, an in-depth discussion of your symptoms also gives additional information regarding the same. Although X-ray imaging can be helpful, it cannot detect any evidence of rheumatoid arthritis in its early stages.
How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated?
The aim of the treatment offered is to help minimize your symptoms and improve the functioning of the affected joint. Even though rheumatoid arthritis was once considered a dangerous disease, advancements in treatment technologies has led to an impressive improvement in care. Disease-modifying antirheumatic is usually used to slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis by improving some of its symptoms. However, an advanced form of rheumatoid arthritis tends to respond better to a group of drugs known as biological response modifiers. Some of the drugs that can also be used in your treatment plan are methotrexate, abatacept, sulfasalazine, Tocilizumab, Hydroxychloroquine, infliximab, Leflunomide, Azathioprine, minocycline, cyclosporine and certolizumab pegol. Some of the additional treatment options available may include occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling or surgery.
If you or a loved one are experiencing recurrent joint pain, be sure to contact or visit the Osteoporosis and Rheumatology Center of Tampa Bay to learn about available treatment options.