My Blog
By Mark Fisher MD
November 02, 2021
Category: Rheumatologist
Tags: Psoriasis  

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease and is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. It can cause the formation of elevated and thickened skin lesions known as plaques with redness or erythema. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, it is linked to an autoimmune system response that causes this inflammation, causing fresh skin cells to be produced much more quickly, and older skin cells to be shed much more slowly. It can be associated with genetics and family history of this condition.

While there is no current cure for this condition, it can be very effectively managed to control the active inflammation and flares or outbreaks. At Mark Fisher, MD FACR in Haddon Heights and South Jersey, our Rheumatologist Dr. Mark Fisher can recommend a personalized psoriasis management plan that may include certain medications to control this condition very effectively.

How Psoriasis is Controlled and Treated

You can live a comfortable and active life. An effective management plan can be customized to your state of psoriasis that usually begins with your primary physician or Dermatologist.  The initial program frequently includes topical creams or ointments. These often contain steroids, Vitamin D derivatives, and other medications. Light programs with your Dermatologist can be helpful.

If this fails to manage psoriasis effectively, other injectable treatments known as biologics can be used, and these have been shown to be the most effective agents at the present time. These can be administered or recommended by your Dermatologist or Rheumatologist. Some of these agents can be administered by self-injection subcutaneously, or by your Rheumatologist intravenously. Dr. Mark Fisher has been doing such procedures for his psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis patients for many years now. This has made huge differences in patients’ lives. 

Of course, patients must be aware of the adverse risks of these medications including infection. Appropriate assessments to reduce such risks should be undertaken, and these may include laboratory testing and preventive vaccines. 

It is really important to try and control this systemic illness to reduce the risks for further complications. Many such patients may develop psoriatic arthritis affecting many joints, and this can be similar to aggressive arthritis seen in Rheumatoid Arthritis with pain, swelling, and potentially very destructive arthritis. If not treated early and effectively with these agents, joint damage and deformity can develop.

 
Lifestyle adjustments and supportive but not definitive therapies can also include:

  • Avoid skin exposure to dry and cold conditions
  • Refrain from alcohol
  • Avoid skin injuries
  • Adequate rest and eating a balanced diet that will keep your immune system strong
  • Avoid excess exposure to the sun and coverups and sunscreens to prevent sunburn
  • Stop smoking
  • Managing your stress levels
  • Phototherapy and topicals as referenced above for treating early and mild psoriasis rashes
  • Other medications can include:  Antihistamines for reducing itchiness
  • Antifungal medications or antibiotics for treating secondary fungal or bacterial infections

Finally, further complications from uncontrolled psoriasis can be serious and usually prevented.  These may include psoriatic arthritis, secondary fungal or bacterial infections resulting from the breaks in the skin, and inflammation from psoriasis. 

Early diagnosis and proper current state-of-the-art medical care can be very effective in minimizing and protecting you from the additional risks of developing these complications and related conditions.

If you need or would like more information on Treating and Managing Your Psoriasis, please contact us.

Schedule an appointment with Mark Fisher MD FACR, our Board Certified Rheumatologist in Haddon Heights, NJ,  and treating patients all over South Jersey, by dialing (856) 547-8004. 

New patients are welcome and our in-office infusion center welcomes you if such services are indicated.

By Mark Fisher MD
October 26, 2021
Category: Rheumatologist

If pain in your joints is a recurring problem, and you find yourself using over-the-counter pain medications regularly, it may be time to visit Dr. Mark Fisher, a Rheumatologist in Haddon Heights, NJ. You may have more than mere aches and pains. You should ask about Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Seeking help early can be much more effective and can prevent complications associated with this condition. Reaching out to your doctor or Rheumatologist to learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and its effective management can be crucial to you in helping not only your pain and stiffness, but also reducing the risks for joint damage, joint deformity, and functional and activity impairments.

Understanding RA

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and has familial and genetic associations. This autoimmune inflammatory arthritis condition attacks the tissue surrounding your joints. This leads to inflammation and symptoms of prolonged morning stiffness, painful joints usually symmetrically located, and swelling of the joints. The hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, and feet can be affected. Nodules or lumps over the elbow or other areas can develop from this inflammation. If untreated properly, joint damage, deformities, and lack of range of motion can develop. These consequences can impair activities, and ability to work.

Early in this condition, you may find this recurring discomfort in the smaller joints of your hands and feet. At this stage, it is very important to seek an expert opinion from your doctor or Rheumatologist. The earlier RA is diagnosed and treatment begins, the more likely your chances become in preventing some of its more damaging effects and allowing you to live a more normal life.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment in Haddon Heights, NJ, Camden County, Gloucester County and all of South Jersey can seek assistance from Rheumatologist Mark Fisher MD FACR.

It is common for people to experience RA differently. Your own symptoms can vary in severity and the specific joints affected with stiffness, pain, and swelling can occur Other symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, dry eyes and mouth, and difficulty sleeping may be associated with this condition. Your doctor will take all of this into account when deciding how to most effectively treat these symptoms.

Medication along with physical therapy can do wonders to minimize inflammation and pain. Medication can also vary. These can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), both over the counter and by prescriptions. In addition, medications that affect the immune system including injectables like biologicals given by intravenous infusions, and also subcutaneous injections or oral medications may be essential for your successful management. While there is no cure for these genetic autoimmune disorders that impact your lives and longevity, there are extremely effective and successful treatments available with your Rheumatologist.

It is very important not to ignore your joint discomfort. Mark Fisher MD FACR, a board-certified Rheumatologist, can help you with your proper diagnosis, and treat your rheumatoid arthritis in Haddon Heights, NJ. He sees patients from all over South Jersey. Please schedule an appointment today by dialing (856) 547-8004.

By Mark Fisher MD
October 25, 2021
Category: Rheumatologist
Tags: Arthritis  

If you're living with arthritis, there is a lot you can do on your own to help manage it. For help with caring for your arthritis, get in contact with Dr. Mark Fisher in Haddon Heights, NJ. Your Gloucester area rheumatologist is available by appointment.

Understanding Arthritis

Arthritis exists in various forms, but primarily it affects the cartilage in the joints. Cartilage cushions the joints, protecting them from the stress of daily movement. When it is weakened or diminished, you feel that all too familiar inflammation, stiffness, and pain.

Arthritis is most common in adults over 65, but if you believe you are suffering symptoms contact your Haddon Heights, NJ, and Gloucester area rheumatologist for a proper diagnosis.

Staying Active

One of the best ways to manage your arthritis is through exercise. Maintaining an active lifestyle not only improves your joint's mobility but you can ease their burden by losing weight. According to the CDC, even 10 to 12 pounds of weight loss can substantially improve your symptoms.

The key is to focus on low impact, low risk, activities, especially if you're new to exercise. Activities that don't overly stress or twist the joints. At home you can practice leg raises, finger bends, head tilts, among other simple exercises, to assist with pain. Ask your doctor about the recommended exercises.

Minimizing Your Joint Stress

It's also important to consider your environment, the repetitive movements that can unduly strain your joints. Consider some of the products available on the market made for easing arthritic stress. Such as replacing door knobs for lever handles, using jar openers, reach extenders, among many.

The primary goal is pain management, which can be aided by heating or cooling pads, employing joint support and mobility assistance devices, if needed. But maintaining in contact with your Gloucester rheumatologist is needed so they may monitor your progress and possibly suggest alternatives to your treatment.

Don't Do It Alone

You don't have to manage arthritis on your own, give your rheumatologist a call. Dial Dr. Mark Fisher in Haddon Heights, NJ, at (856) 547-8004. Serving the Camden County, Gloucester City, and Burlin County areas.

By Mark Fisher MD
October 21, 2021
Category: Rheumatologist

There are always new and emerging medications designed to slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

Have a low-grade fever, joint swelling, and redness, and overall fatigue become the “new norm” for you? If so, you may be surprised to discover that you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early RA often begins in the hands and wrists but it’s also common to experience symptoms in the knees, ankles, and shoulders. While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis the good news is that our Haddon Height, NJ, rheumatologist Dr. Mark Fisher can provide you with a long-term treatment plan to get your symptoms under control.

Your treatment plan will most likely consist of lifestyle modifications and medications designed to control symptoms and prevent joint damage. Let’s break these down into specifics so you understand more about the treatment plan our rheumatologist may create for you here in Haddon Heights, NJ,

Lifestyle Modifications

While you may need to take more rest days, it’s important that you are still getting regular physical activity. Fitness can help improve joint mobility and stability while strengthening muscles. Certain exercises that can improve your RA symptoms include,

  • Range-of-motion exercises
  • Low-impact aerobic exercises (e.g. swimming; walking)
  • Strength training

Physical therapy is typically recommended for those living with RA. Physical therapy provides a variety of modalities to alleviate symptoms while improving overall joint functionality. Some types of physical therapy include,

  • Splinting
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Heating or cold therapy
  • Relaxation techniques

Medications

Medication will play a larger role in being able to control symptoms to make it easier to perform your daily activities. The type of medication our Haddon Heights, NJ, rheumatologist prescribes will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID) such as ibuprofen may work well for those with mild symptoms. However, most patients with moderate symptoms will benefit from,

  • Corticosteroids: reduces inflammation and pain
  • COX-2 inhibitor: a prescription-strength NSAID
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs: medication that targets the disease itself to slow its progression (the newest anti-rheumatoid drug on the market, designed specifically for RA, are Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors known by their brand names Rinvoq, Xeljanz, and Olumiant)

Of course, there are always revolutionary new drugs coming out every few years that are providing patients living with RA even better relief from their symptoms, especially when other medications haven’t been as effective. Biologics are one type of revolutionary drug. These medications are typically administered as an injection or through an IV. Since RA is an autoimmune disease, biologics act on the immune system itself to halt the progression of RA, which prevents severe joint damage and inflammation.

Whether you suspect that you might be dealing with RA or you have questions about the new RA medications on the market, we are happy to discuss new, emerging treatment options with you. Our rheumatologist and his team provide comprehensive rheumatology and arthritis care to patients living in Haddon Heights and the South Jersey community. To schedule an appointment please call (856) 547-8004.

By Mark Fisher MD
October 20, 2021
Category: Rheumatologist
Tags: Osteoporosis  

Bones are living tissues that are in balance under normal circumstances with break down and formation of bone. Osteoporosis develops when the rate of new or fresh bone production is exceeded by bone loss; and also abnormal bony architecture develops. This formula leads to higher risks for bone fracture with very little trauma or injury. Coughing or bending over or lifting modest weights can lead to fractures. Typically, fractures related to osteoporosis occur in the spine, wrist, or hip. Working closely with your Rheumatologist in Camden County, NJ, Mark Fisher MD FACR, weight-bearing exercises, a healthy diet, and medications can help to strengthen weak bones and reduce the risks for further bone loss and fractures. It is so important to manage this condition successfully because hip and spinal fractures in this condition can be associated with a 25% risk of mortality within 1 year- Not a benign condition!

Causes of Osteoporosis

Your body is constantly renewing your bones, making new ones and breaking down old ones. When you are younger, your body can produce new bone more quickly and maintain a fair balance with the rate of bone loss, resulting in preservation of bone mass and strength.

We usually reach our peak bone mass in our early 30’s. After this, bone loss accelerates.

Peak bone mass varies with different ethnic and racial groups. There are genetic differences amongst these groups and families which can lead to higher risks for bone loss and osteoporosis. Having a higher peak bone mass means that you will have more bone mass remaining when bone loss acceleration begins. This has an impact on bone health and osteoporosis as you grow older.

Osteoporosis can occur in women and men regardless of race, but studies have shown that Asian and Caucasian postmenopausal women, have the highest risk.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Bone loss does not typically present with any symptoms! Pain develops when fractures occur!

Some signs for osteoporosis are:

  • A hunched posture and protruding abdomen
  • Loss of height of 2 inches or more
  • Back pain due to a collapsed or fractured vertebrae or other bones

Once you experience any of these osteoporosis warning signs, consult with your Rheumatologist Mark Fisher MD FACR in Camden County, NJ, for accurate and prompt diagnosis. Early treatment can significantly help to slow down the progression of this condition and reduce the risks for fractures and deformities and other medical problems.

Complications of Untreated Osteoporosis

The most severe complications of untreated osteoporosis include hip and spine fractures. Hip fractures, in particular, are typically a result of falls and could lead to disability and increased mortality risk. In addition, spinal and other bone fractures can occur even without injury. Sometimes a person has a fracture and this is the cause of the fall.

Management of Osteoporosis

While there is no cure, we must all remember there are very effective and successful treatment strategies for patients with this potentially devastating but very treatable condition. Successful therapy is always best when instituted early. A DEXA or bone density study is the best tool we have along with appropriate laboratory studies for the proper assessment of this condition.

For More Information on Osteoporosis and its management, please contact Mark Fisher MD FACR , a board certified specialist in Rheumatology. You Can Be Helped!!

Dial (856) 547-8004 to reach Mark Fisher, MD, in Camden County, NJ, and schedule your visit with our Rheumatologist, Dr. Mark Fisher.





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Camden County, NJ Rheumatologist
Mark Fisher, MD 713 Station Ave
Haddon Heights, NJ 08035
(856) 547-8004