Find out more about this inflammatory autoimmune disease and how to treat it.
Have you or a loved one recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis? If so, then chances are good that you are looking for more information about this condition and the treatment options available to you to reduce your painful symptoms, reduced your risks for joint damage, and preserve your overall functioning. Our Haddon Heights, NJ, Rheumatologist, Dr. Mark Fisher, is here to answer all of your questions about rheumatoid arthritis so you can understand more about this chronic condition and what you can do about it.
What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?
This chronic condition is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the joints of the body. This can lead to a thickening of the tissue around the joint known as synovitis. This thickening leads to widespread pain and swelling and potential damage to the joints. Joint deformity and malfunction can result and a disabling, progressive arthritis affecting multiple joints in a symmetrical fashion ensues.
If RA is left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to the joints, tissue and cartilage, which is why it’s so important to visit our Haddon Heights rheumatoid arthritis doctor right away for an early diagnosis. The sooner we can start treatment the better. Early diagnosis and management is always the key to the best success!!
What are the symptoms?
Those with RA will experience a variety of different joint-related symptoms including,
- Swelling, stiffness and joint pain (lasting longer than six weeks).
- Prolonged morning stiffness more than 1-3 hours distinguishes RA from the usual arthritis we may experience with age known as osteoarthritis.
- Widespread joint discomfort, usually in a symmetrical distribution
- Pain and swelling within smaller joints
- (e.g. joints within the hands or feet) and also can include larger joints ( e.g. shoulders, hips, and knees)
Along with joint pain, swelling, and inflammation, those with RA may also have a lack of an appetite, weight loss, chronic lethargy, fever, lumps or nodules over the elbows and other areas. RA symptoms may flare-up and is characterized by such exacerbations of pain and swelling of joints, and can last several months; however, this also means that there are periods of lesser activity of symptoms where you might experience fewer symptoms.
Since RA is an autoimmune disorder it can affect everything from the eyes and skin to the lungs and even the blood.Patients with such a disorder can also have higher risks for internal problems such as cancer, cardiovascular complications, anemia, and other medical problems.
How is RA treated?
While RA cannot be cured, but there is a very effective treatment for it. The inflammation and pain can be managed and complications (e.g. joint damage and other risks) can be greatly reduced through early diagnosis and with the proper medication. Common RA medications include,
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (to reduce pain and inflammation)
- Corticosteroids (to manage severe inflammation flares
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as methotrexate, antimalarials, sulfasalazine
- Biologic monoclonal antibodies and these have made phenomenal changes in the course of this illness for many and life-changing impact on patients' lives and functionality
During your visit, we will discuss which medications will help your symptoms and offer the best overall plan to maintain your function and joint protection with the least risks.
If you are looking for a Rheumatologist in Haddon Heights, NJ, who can help your RA symptoms and to improve your quality of life, then look no further than our very own Dr. Fisher. Our compassionate, caring team is here to help you every step of the way, so you can enjoy what really matters in life.
While arthritis is a common diagnosis and ailment for many, the word alone does not always tell the whole story. It is actually a very inclusive and encompassing term for many types of arthritis and related conditions. Recognizing the signs of arthritis early can help assist in effectively diagnose, treat, and manage these conditions. Find out more about the symptoms and signs and possible complications of arthritis and what your doctor can do to treat it with Dr. Mark Fisher in Haddon Heights, NJ.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Arthritis affects the joints and often increases in severity with age. Two major types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, occurring with wear and tear with age or injury, and the inflammatory type such as rheumatoid arthritis, an immune related condition that affects the body symmetrically involving the small and large joints, such as both wrists, hands, elbows, hips, or both knees and ankles. The early symptoms of arthritis include early morning stiffness and pain, and may include joint swelling and these symptoms may depend on the type of arthritis you have.
Some of the general symptoms of arthritis include:
- joint pain
- joint stiffness
- joint swelling
- joint redness and warmth
- decreased range of motion of the joint
- Nodules or lumps on the elbows
- Other systemic signs may include: Skin rashes, chest pain with breathing, discoloration of the fingers with cold temperature, unexplained fevers, fatigue
Your doctor will use the medical history and physical examination and certain laboratory and X-ray studies and careful consideration of this information to diagnose your arthritis-related condition. Often, all of this information can help diagnose the more specific classification of the arthritis related condition you may have. Doctors can also test a joint fluid sample to search for evidence of infectious arthritis or gout in some cases. The collection of symptoms, physical findings, lab and X-ray results can assist the arthritis specialist or Rheumatologist prepare the likely diagnosis and suggest the appropriate management plan to protect the joints and improve and reduce activity of the arthritic or autoimmune process.
Arthritis Treatments in Haddon Heights, NJ
Many of the initial treatments for arthritis may include rest, increased exercise, physical therapy, or occupational therapy. If these methods do not provide adequate results, over-the-counter or prescription drugs may help manage the symptoms. The type of medication will depend on the underlying arthritis condition causing your symptoms. These drugs may include disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or Biologic response modifiers. These may help prevent the condition from worsening and preserve the joint’s functionality and range of motion and overall health of the patient. Your doctor may suggest surgery in severe cases, such as joint replacement, but these treatments can substantially reduce the need for surgery or risks of disability.
For more information on arthritis, please contact Board Certified Rheumatologist Dr. Mark Fisher in Haddon Heights, NJ. Call (856) 547-8004 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Fisher today!
Don’t let this autoimmune disorder affect your appearance and quality of life.
Those who deal with psoriasis are often embarrassed when flare-ups happen. After all, their once smooth skin is now covered with thick, red, scaly patches. If you wish you could wear short sleeves or shorts without worrying that other people will notice your psoriasis, then our Camden County, NJ, Rheumatologist Dr. Mark Fisher is here to tell you how he can help.
While mild psoriasis symptoms can be treated with treatment options such as topical steroids and light therapy, those who battle moderate-to-severe symptoms may need to turn to our Camden County, NJ, rheumatology doctor for a more effective treatment.
Many people dealing with more serious psoriasis symptoms can finally find the relief they seek through biologics. Biologics are injectable drugs that work by acting directly on the immune system to reduce the intense inflammatory lesions of psoriasis. These medications can be very effective. Significant risks such as infection must be discussed, and it is important to consider these factors before deciding whether this is the best option for managing your psoriasis.
The Severity of Your Symptoms
If you are dealing with plaques over about 25 percent to 50 percent of your body or more, this is a good indicator that you may be an ideal candidate for this treatment. Those with milder symptoms often don’t require such aggressive treatment in order to experience relief.
Your Quality of Life
Take a second to determine just how much psoriasis affects your daily life. This is probably one of the most important factors. If you find yourself retreating from social gatherings and hiding behind layers of clothes because of your psoriasis then biologic drugs may be the best way to improve your skin and your confidence. Psoriasis can affect your joints in a very aggressive way as well.
Your Overall Health
Biologics work by suppressing the immune system in different ways, so it’s important that you have no other medical issues that would increase risks of side effects from these medications. We will go through your medical history and perform a thorough evaluation to make sure that you aren’t dealing with serious health problems that would be impacted by a suppressed immune system. These treatments have made huge impacts in a very positive way for many years for so many with low risks for adverse reactions.
If you want to find out more about getting biologics in Southern New Jersey to treat your severe psoriasis symptoms that has failed conservative management, then it’s time you scheduled an evaluation with Dr. Fisher.
According to annual statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), millions of American adults report suffering from some level of chronic pain. Over 23 million reported suffering from daily pain that they categorized as excessive or severe. There are many potential causes for chronic pain, which can sometimes be difficult to identify, delaying an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Mark Fisher, a board certified rheumatologist in Haddon Heights, Camden County, NJ, treats pain related to joint and soft tissue conditions and injuries like arthritis and autoimmune disorders.
Chronic Pain And Arthritis Diagnosis and Treatment in Haddon Heights, NJ
A rheumatologist treats conditions that affect the joints and connective tissue (muscles and bones). One of the most common rheumatic conditions (and source of chronic pain) is arthritis, which consists of many other different forms such as osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Gout, and other Connective Tissue Disorders such as Lupus.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, over 50 million Americans have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis (or one in five adults over the age of 18). Although some of the more common forms of arthritis like osteoarthritis tend to be more prevalent in older adults, anyone can develop arthritis at any age.
The first step in treating chronic pain is to assess what is causing it. Systemic inflammatory arthritic conditions have other systemic effects on the body as well. These can include increased risks for cardiovascular disease and cancer.
With rheumatic conditions that affect joint health and stability, preserving the health and function of the affected joint is part of a comprehensive pain management and treatment plan.
Whether you are seeking a second opinion or getting treatment for the first time, Dr. Fisher will take a detailed medical history and perform any necessary diagnostic exams to help design an adequate treatment plan.
Potential pain management treatments for rheumatoid conditions include:
Even mild to moderate chronic pain can disrupt and interfere with your quality of life and ability to perform your daily activities. If you are experiencing pain related to arthritis or a joint or connective tissue disorder, contact our office by calling
(856) 547-8004 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fisher today.
Developing chronic conditions like arthritis can cause you to feel as though your body is failing to do its job. However, learning more about this condition and fully understanding its treatment options makes it both bearable and manageable. With help from your doctor, you can overcome your rheumatoid arthritis pain and find the best treatment plan for you. Learn more with Dr. Mark Fisher in Haddon Heights, NJ.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder which affects the body’s joints and tissues. The body’s immune system begins erroneously attacking the tissues, mainly affecting the joints’ linings. If left untreated, this eventually causes joint deformity. While arthritis generally affects the body’s joints, rheumatoid arthritis can also cause damage to other parts of the body like the eyes, skin, blood vessels, heart, and lungs.
Do I have rheumatoid arthritis?
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can help you seek treatment early, allowing your doctor to keep the condition under control. Symptoms often affect the joints of the hands and feet first, then progress to the larger joints, such as the wrists, knees, and ankles. You may also notice symptoms which affect other parts of the body such as your eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, nerve tissues, and skin. If you experience the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis continually or they begin affecting your everyday life, you should consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
How is rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed?
Women over the age of 40 are more likely than younger women or men to develop arthritis. Those who smoke, are obese, or have a family history of the condition are also more at risk for rheumatoid arthritis than others. Since there is no one single test to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, diagnosing this condition often begins with a physical examination at your doctor’s office. Imagining techniques like x-rays and MRIs and certain blood testing also help your doctor pinpoint the presence of rheumatoid arthritis and track its progression over time.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments in Haddon Heights, NJ
Treating rheumatoid arthritis begins with medications to reduce swelling and pain. Corticosteroid injections also help reduce pain and help slow the progression of the condition in the joint. Physical and occupational therapy can help strengthen weakened joints and manage your pain. Surgery becomes necessary in more severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis.
For more information on rheumatoid arthritis, please contact Dr. Mark Fisher at his practice in Camden County, NJ. Call (856) 547-8004 to schedule your appointment for a consultation with Dr. Fisher today!
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