Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting more women than men. It is a symmetrical progressive condition which usually affects the small joints of the hands and feet. Onset can be at any age, and fatigue may be a significant symptom. In addition to joints, organs can be involved with RA. Treatment is designed initially at suppressing inflammation. Biologic agents (i.e. drugs such as Enbrel, Humira, Remicade) have made a significant difference in improving the quality of life, of patients with this disease.
Osteoporosis is a silent disease defined by a decrease in bone mass resulting in an increased risk of fracture. A bone density scan (dexa) defines the T score and categorizes the need for treatment. More women are affected by osteoporosis, than men. Hip and spine fractures are complications if the disease is not treated. With diagnosis and appropriate tailored treatment for each individual, the risk of fracture can be significantly reduced.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disorder characterized by cartilage loss. This is the most common condition affecting joints with an increase in prevalence with aging. The joints most commonly affected are the knees, hips and shoulders. Appropriate nutrition, anti-inflammatory medication, muscle strengthening and surgery, when all else fails, are usually successful.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition, which can be identified with red, itchy skin in both men and women, at any age. It is caused by an overactive immune system, which creates lesions called plaques. Psoriasis is treated with medicine creams, and biologics (drugs).
Gout is a common disease which may be genetic, related to lifestyle or medication (i.e. requiring diuretics). It is caused by the deposition of urate crystals usually but not necessarily in patients who have a high uric acid. Initially one or a few joints may be involved and with subsequent gout attacks, numerous joints may be affected. This disease is exquisitely painful but with appropriate diagnostic tools and anti-inflammatory medications, this disease can usually be well- controlled.
Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) is seen more commonly in women of childbearing age. Its presentation can be extremely variable involving almost every organ in the body, and inflammation is a hallmark. Patients can present with bruising, fevers, unexplained rashes, hair loss, difficulty taking a deep breath, and cold fingertips (Raynaud’s) among many other possible signs or symptoms. Treatment is designed at suppressing inflammation using specific medications. There are new recently approved medications for lupus which may improve longevity, as well as the quality of life.
Musculoskeletal diseases are associated with overuse or direct trauma, or could be due to a previous virus. Diseases include bursitis, tendonitis, Lyme disease, spinal stenosis. They are usually treated with an anti-inflammatory drugs, exercise and possibly a cortisone injection.
Autoimmune diseases affect one’s immunity system. It is manifested when one’s own immune system attacks itself and causes joint pain, swelling, rash or weakness, to name a few of the symptoms we treat. These diseases include lupus, scleroderma, myositis, antiphospholipid syndrome, sjogren syndrome, uveitis, polymyositis, and Raynaud’s phenomenon. There are many different treatment options depending on the disease.
Joint pain is a sign of chronic inflammation. It is often associated with stiffness and may affect large and small joints at different times of the day. There are many treatment options available for each.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic, widespread, painful disease affecting more women than men. It is often associated with a sleep disturbance and diffuse tenderness at anatomical sites on the body. FDA approved medications, appropriate exercise and “alternative” or holistic treatments designed for each patient can be beneficial.