As we have written previously, it is not clear whether Covid 19 creates additional risk for the biologic medications our patients take for inflammatory diseases. Most rheumatologists are not telling their patients to stop their medicines unless they have an infection. This advice has been given for many years. One unexpected medicine we especially want patients to continue if they are already on it is Plaquenil, (hydroxychloroquine). This drug, used for lupus, Sjogrens and rheumatoid arthritis, is a cousin of chloroquine. Chloroquine in studies done in China ( for whatever that may be worth) may be beneficial in treating Covid 19. There is not enough data to tell people to take Plaquenil for Covid 19, but if you are on it, talk to us before considering stopping it.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is on everyone’s mind. Our patients who need medicines to suppress an overactive immune system may be particularly concerned. So far there is no data to support that such patients are more at risk for getting this particular virus. The consequence of not taking medicine for inflammatory diseases is likely to result in disease flares, which can cause misery. Panic is not a good approach to dealing with any virus! Remember that the flu virus kills hundreds of thousands of people every year and we don’t seem to give it much thought.
As for our rheumatology practice, if you do not have any current symptoms of sickness, then both your doctor and your team here feel it is safe to continue with infusions as well as oral medications to control your disease. Just as we do here, be sure to wash your hands frequently, avoid sick contacts, clean home surfaces, and avoid unnecessary travel or dense public spaces. Uncertainty can be scary, but keep in mind that it’s very likely that almost everyone who contracts COVID-19 experiences it as a mild illness, not a severe one. In the event you experience any symptoms after your treatment, make sure you call either your referring doctor’s office or your primary care physician and follow their instructions on how to proceed. For medications that affect the immune system, it is a judgment call for the individual prescribing physician. But, it is reasonable to say that a patient whose underlying disease is uncontrolled carries as much risk for viral infection as a patient who receives appropriate immunosuppression for a serious chronic illness.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2019 Wynnewood, PA… Gary V. Gordon, MD, FACP, FACR, owner of Main Line Rheumatology practice, and chief of Rheumatology, Lankenau Medical Center, announces that Main Line Rheumatology is now called, Main Line Rheumatology & Osteoporosis.
Only our name has changed! The practice of Main Line Rheumatology & Osteoporosis is still independently owned, and its doctors, staff and office locations at Lankenau Medical Center, and Main Line Health Center, in Broomall remain the same.
Why the practice name change? Dr. Gary Gordon said, “Over the last number of years, we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of osteoporosis patients we see, and patients with osteopenia or other fracture risks. Osteoporosis has become our rheumatology practice’s largest growing sub-medical specialty. Adding “osteoporosis” to Main Line Rheumatology, creates a more defining description of our practice, today.”
Osteoporosis is a common rheumatology disease.
According to recent statistics from the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis is responsible for an estimated two million broken bones per year, yet nearly 80 percent of older Americans who suffer bone breaks are not tested or treated for osteoporosis. Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density, placing them at increased risk. One in two women, and up to one in four men over age 50, will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Dr. Gordon added, “Our doctors and staff are committed to treating our osteoporosis patients. I encourage individuals who have noticeable symptoms (i.e. back pain, fractured or collapsed vertebra, loss of height over time, stooped posture, or a bone that breaks much more easily than expected) to make an appointment with a rheumatologist for diagnosis. Pro-active testing and treatment could stave off fractures, or full-blown disease.”
Rheumatoid arthritis — a chronic autoimmune condition that causes pain and stiffness in the joints affects between 0.3% and 1% of the world’s population, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Now, a new review appearing in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition shows that following a plant based diet can be a useful intervention when it comes to coping with this condition, as it triggers some helpful biological changes, stating, “Symptoms may improve or even disappear.”
Many rheumatologic diseases are difficult to sort out in the beginning. New York Times medical writer, Jane Brody, describes polymyalgia, an inflammatory disease affecting muscles and connective tissue in the shoulder/pelvic region, and the overlapping and more serious temporal or giant cell arteritis, involving blood vessels to the scalp and the eyes with potential risk of blindness. Talk to your primary care physician and consider seeing a rheumatologist if you have these symptoms.
To accommodate our patients, Main Line Rheumatology has increased its hours to better serve you!
LANKENAU MEDICAL CENTER
Monday 9am – 5:30pm
Tuesday and Wednesday 8am- 4pm
Thursday 9am – 4pm
Friday 8am- 4pm
MAIN LINE HEALTH CENTER, Broomall
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9am – 4pm
Philadelphia, PA May 9, 2019… Main Line Rheumatology is excited to announce that we have added Hyon Ju Park, MD, to our staff of rheumatologists. Dr. Park has an impressive resume. She is board-certified in rheumatology and internal medicine, and certified in clinical densitometry (bone density studies). Dr. Park graduated Columbia University in 2003 with a degree in biochemistry, and graduated Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, in 2007. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri as well as a rheumatology fellowship and additional research fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dr. Park has been an avid contributor to medical publishing including editorials, reviews, case reports and many book chapters. She has a special interest in lupus, vasculitis, and periodic fever syndromes.
Dr. Park is the mother of two children, and her husband is a cancer researcher at the University of Pennsylvania.