My Blog
By Mark Fisher MD
December 29, 2021
Category: Rheumatologist

Here is how your rheumatologist in Haddon Heights and South Jersey, NJ, can help relieve your arthritis pain, reduce risks for joint damage, and reduce disabling function.

Rheumatoid arthritis can be a very painful, debilitating disease. It is related to an autoimmune disorder causing severe inflammation in your joints. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to manage rheumatoid arthritis very successfully. Your Rheumatologist can help. Dr. Mark Fisher in Haddon Heights, NJ can offer a wide variety of rheumatology services, including treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. He proudly serves residents of Haddon Heights, South Jersey, Gloucester County, and Camden County, NJ.

Rheumatoid arthritis is different from other forms of arthritis. Instead of being caused by wear-and-tear such as osteoarthritis rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease manifested by severe inflammation. Your body attacks the lining of your joints, called the synovium. Rheumatoid arthritis is often related to genetics and can be seen more frequently in families.

There are 5 important ways you can help manage your condition of joint pain in the early and still undiagnosed phase. 

You should:

  • Avoid activities that are too physically stressful and hurtful. Pain should not last more than an hour after doing an activity. If it does, you should change your activity, so you don’t make your pain worse. This can be a sign of a more significant problem that should be brought to the attention of your physician.
  • Change your position frequently. Change your grip every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent stress to your fingers. Try to get up every 30 minutes and avoid sitting too long.
  • Use ergonomic utensils and tools to prevent hand stress. Pens and utensils with a large diameter grip are easier on your hands and fingers.
  • Rest frequently if necessary, since easy fatigue can be another sign of inflammation. Try to take rest breaks at home or work if possible
  • Do self-care to ease your pain. Gentle soaking in a warm bath can relax sore, tired muscles and make joints feel better. Calming environments, herbal supplements, and bathing can help relieve stress and also painful joints.

If such simple measures are not adequate in relieving such symptoms, it is suggested to see your primary doctor for evaluation and you may be referred to a Rheumatologist for further diagnosis and management

Your Rheumatologist is an expert in treating rheumatoid arthritis and may recommend multiple modalities for the management of your disease.

Medication therapy includes anti-inflammatory medications. Other more advanced treatments may include Disease-Modifying Drugs of the standard conventional type or the biologic type. Biologic medications are more advanced medicines that work on more specific parts of the immune system, and these have been available over the past 22 years. These have made huge changes in the successful care of RA patients and huge changes in the quality and longevity of life in such patients. Such advanced and effective intervention and care work best when introduced early, but it is never too late to start treatment. It is important to understand that RA can be more than arthritis alone, and can have serious systemic medical consequences.

Always remember that lack of a cure does not mean a lack of effective life-saving treatment!!

An appropriate exercise and stretching regimen can help your mobility and balance and functionality.

Braces, splints, and other assistive devices could be indicated for those that have already developed joint damage and dysfunction.

If your rheumatoid arthritis is severe, your rheumatologist may recommend surgical therapy as a last resort for those with severely damaged joints and functional impairment. 

To learn more about managing your Rheumatoid Arthritis and how your Rheumatologist can help, please call Dr. Mark Fisher in Haddon Heights, NJ, serving residents of Haddon Heights, South Jersey, Gloucester County, and Camden County, NJ. He is a Board Certified Rheumatologist and be reached by calling (856) 547-8004.

You are encouraged to reach out to him now.   Feel free to visit his website markfishermd.com. New patients are welcome! Take care of yourself! Seek early help with a comprehensive program by an expert.

Mark Fisher MD FACR

713 Station Ave

Haddon Heights, NJ 08035

856-547-8004

markfishermd.com

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.





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