Advanced Rheumatlogy

Advanced Knowledge, Accurate Diagnoses.

Conditions treated by a rheumatologist can vary greatly. They also affect people of all different ages, genders and ethnicities. However, there are common threads between many “rheumatic” conditions. These common threads, while not always apparent on the surface, help our specialists understand what is happening and pinpoint an exact diagnosis. It is helpful to keep in mind it can take two to three visits to our office before our specialists can pinpoint an exact diagnosis.

Conditions Commonly Treated by a Rheumatologist

Ankylosing spondylitis (pronounced "ang-kill-LOH-sing spawn-duh-LY-tus") is a long-term form of arthritis that most often occurs in the spine . It can cause pain and stiffness in the low back, middle back, buttocks, and neck, and sometimes in other areas such as the hips, chest wall, or heels. It can also cause swelling and limited motion in these areas. This disease is more common in men than in women.

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Arthritis is a general term that means inflammation of the joints. Arthritis includes some or all of the following symptoms: joint pain, joint stiffness, joint swelling and joint inflammation. When, Why and Where these symptoms develop are all clues that help a rheumatologist define exactly what kind of arthritis someone may have.

Fibromyalgia (pronounced fy-bro-my-AL-ja) is a disorder that commonly includes many of the following: anxiety, depression, decreased pain threshold, tender points, incapacitating fatigue and widespread pain that cannot be explained by conventional medical tests and exams. Women are much more likely to have Fibromyalgia than men. The exact cause of Fibrolyalgia is greatly unknown, but the range of treatments grows every year.

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Gout is a kind of arthritis. It can cause an attack of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint, usually a big toe. These attacks can last a few days to a few weeks before the pain goes away, but they typically will happen over and over unless gout is treated. Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood which forms hard crystallized deposits in your joints. Gout most commonly affects men.

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Lupus (also known as systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE for short) is an autoimmune disease treated by rheumatologists. Lupus occurs when the immune system attacks our bodies (joints, skin, organ, etc). Symptoms come and go, but flares often disrupt a patient’s normal life. Symptoms will vary by patient, but commonly include: extreme fatigue, skin rashes (especially on the face), joint pain, sensitivity to light, headaches, tingling of extremities, hair loss and anemia. Patients with advanced Lupus might have problems with their lungs, heart, kidneys and mental health. If untreated, Lupus can be fatal, but today we have many treatments which allow Lupus patients to live a long and happy life.

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Myositis (pronounced my-o-site-iss) or Myopathies refer to any condition causing inflammation in one or more muscles. Weakness, swelling, and pain are the most common symptoms. The causes of Myositis can include infection, injury, autoimmune conditions, and drug side effects. Treatment of myositis varies according to the cause.

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Osteoarthritis, commonly referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis or OA, is the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is often seen in the weight bearing joints (hips, knees and spine). It can also affect the fingers, thumb, neck, and large toe. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects both men and women relatively equally.

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Osteoporosis, or thinning bones, is a serious condition that can result in pain due to bone fractures. A milder form of osteoporosis is called osteopenia. Risk factors for osteoporosis include aging, being female, low body weight, low sex hormones such as during menopause, smoking, and some medications. In rheumatology we often use steroids in urgent situations to treat flares, but long term steroid use can contribute to bone loss (osteoporosis). There are no symptoms of this disease until you fracture a bone. Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis include regular bone density scans, calcium, vitamin D, regular exercise, and osteoporosis medications, as prescribed by your doctor.

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Psoriatic Arthritis (pronounced soar-E-attic) is a condition which develops in a population of people with Psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic skin problem that causes skin cells to grow too quickly, resulting in thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin. About 10% to 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis frequently involves inflammation of the knees, ankles, and joints in the feet and hands. Usually, only a few joints are inflamed at a time. The inflamed joints become painful, swollen, hot, and red. Sometimes, joint inflammation in the fingers or toes can cause swelling of the entire digit, giving them the appearance of a sausage.

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Rheumatoid arthritis (also known as RA) is a type of chronic arthritis that typically occurs in joints on both sides of the body (such as hands, wrists, or knees). Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include: joint pain, swelling, stiffness, especially in the morning or after sitting for long periods and fatigue. Rheumatoid arthritis affects everyone differently. For some, joint symptoms develop gradually over several years. In others, rheumatoid arthritis may progress rapidly. Rheumatoid arthritis is two to three times more common in women than in men, but men tend to be more severely affected by RA.

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Scleroderma is a rare autoimmune disorder characterized by abnormal thickening of body tissue. There are several types of scleroderma—some types affect certain, specific parts of the body like the skin, while other types can affect the whole body and internal organs (systemic). Scleroderma is also known as progressive systemic sclerosis. The exact cause of scleroderma is unknown.

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Sjögren's (pronounced "SHOH-grins") is a rare disease in which the immune system attacks the glands that make tears and saliva. The damage keeps the glands from working the way they should and makes your eyes and mouth dry. The disease may also cause fatigue and pain in the joints. Sjögren's may also occur along with other auto-immune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma.

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Vasculitis is a general term that refers to inflammation of blood vessels. When blood vessels become inflamed, they may become weakened, stretch, and either increase in size or become narrow -- even to the point of closing entirely. There are a few known causes of vasculitis including illness, infection and allergic reaction to medication. However, vasculitis can be a a complication of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or other auto-immune diseases.

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Wegener's granulomatosis (commonly referred to as just “Wegner’s”) is a rare disorder characterized by the inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis) which results in damage to various organ systems of the body, most often the respiratory tract and kidneys. Symptoms may include ulcerations of the mucous membranes in the nose with secondary bacterial infection, a persistent runny nose, sinus pain, and chronic ear infections.

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