Diagnosis and Treatment of Rheumatic Diseases
Rheumatologists at East Metro Rheumatology are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases affecting joints and related tissues.
We provide compassionate and expert care for a variety of rheumatic diseases and conditions which include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, gout, osteoarthritis, and other conditions. The conditions we treat include:
There are many forms of arthritis linked with inflammation that can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and warmth in the joints. Inflammation from arthritis can affect the joints throughout the body, including the hands and feet, knees, shoulders, elbows, hip, wrists, ankles, as well as the neck and spine. While there are multiple types of arthritis, the two main types are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. There are also forms of arthritis attributed to autoimmune disorders, where the immune system mistakenly attacks tissue in the body, including joint tissue.
Technically, pain is considered chronic when it lasts three to six months or longer, but arthritis pain can last a lifetime. The symptoms of arthritis can vary based on the type and location. Some symptoms of arthritis include:
- Joint pain and tenderness
- Inflammation in and around the joints
- Restricted movement of the joints
- Warm, red skin over the affected joint
The main types of Arthritis that we treat include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body's immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling. The outer covering of the joint called the synovium is the first place that becomes affected. This can then spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint's shape, and may cause the bone and cartilage to break down. Unfortunately, people with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs in their body.
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, which is caused by wear and tear, and often gets worse with age. This type of arthritis affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, making movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness. Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder. This can cause swelling and the formation of bony spurs, called osteophytes. Severe loss of cartilage can lead to bone rubbing on bone, altering the shape of the joint and forcing the bones out of their normal position.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. It can occur at any age, and is seen equally in men and women. If not promptly treated, it can cause permanent damage to the bones surrounding the joints, which leads to pain, deformity, and loss of function. Exercise, a good diet, and education remain crucial elements in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis.
Osteoporosis occurs when there is a reduction in the mass in one’s bones. So, called “thinning of the bones” increases your chance for bone fracture, particularly in the back, hip or wrist. There are many risk factors for developing osteoporosis, some of which can be prevented. For those with osteoporosis, there are treatment options available which can reduce your chances for fracture.
Fibromyalgia presents with symptoms of chronic diffuse muscle and joint pain, poor sleep, and fatigue. Some patients also describe stomach ailments and have a history of headaches. The symptoms may often be vague, but can be debilitating to patients with it.
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose, as there is no one test to confirm it. However, after more serious conditions have been ruled out, usually by a physical exam and taking a good look at medical history, an expert in fibromyalgia can confidently diagnose this condition.
Lupus is an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues. Lupus can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system and other organs of the body. Also known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, sometimes called SLE, lupus causes fatigue, skin rashes, and arthritic conditions. It can involve the blood cells, kidneys and even the brain. Blood tests for autoantibodies can help diagnose lupus. Lupus can be treated with medicines that should be adjusted to the severity of the disease. Lupus is a complicated disease that can look different in any given person. This is why it is often called the disease of 1000 faces. While sometimes difficult to recognize, a rheumatologist can help to diagnose and manage lupus.
If you have any questions about the conditions we treat, please call East Metro Rheumatology at (678) 729-0003 to request an appointment, or use the following Zocdoc link.