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Posts for tag: Rheumatoid Arthritis

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
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 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.

Hearing your Rheumatologist or other physicians say that you have a chronic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis can be a very difficult rheumatoid arthritisexperience. While there is no cure for this condition, you must also know there are now very effective and successful treatments for this condition that has been so devastating to patients in the past resulting in disability, chronic pain, joint surgeries, loss of employment,  and inability to perform the usual activities of daily living (ADLs). 

Learning to control and manage your chronic symptoms can help you lead a normal and active life. Understanding and recognizing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis early can enable you to seek the treatment you need before your condition progresses into more advanced stages. Find out more about rheumatoid arthritis with our own Board Certified Rheumatologist  Mark Fisher MD  FACR in Haddon Heights, NJ.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune condition causing the body’s immune system to activate a multitude of inflammatory substances in your body. This causes inflammation, swelling, and discomfort and occurs most often in the hands, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles and almost any joint in the body. It usually occurs in a symmetrical distribution, affecting both large and small joints. If left untreated or inadequately treated, rheumatoid arthritis begins damaging the cartilage and bones themselves, causing the space between the bones to lessen, erosions in the bone can occur, deformities result, pain and swelling worsen and function deteriorates. 

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
One of the most common early warning signs of rheumatoid arthritis development is pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the joints. Patients in the earliest stages of this disease often do not notice any redness or swelling, but this does occur as the condition advances. Common signs of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • joint pain
  • prolonged morning joint stiffness, lasting 1/2 hour to many hours
  • joint tenderness, swelling, or redness
  • symptoms usually occur in multiple joints
  • symptoms frequently occur symmetrically in similar joints on both sides of the body (i.e: both ankles, both wrists, hands, knees, shoulders )
  • symptoms  last longer than six weeks
  • Of course, other medical conditions such as Lyme disease and others can sometimes give similar symptoms and this is the reason that early medical evaluation by your primary or Rheumatology physician is so important
  • Early intervention has been shown to give the best results for joint protection and preservation, and the best response to treatment, avoidance of surgery, and maintenance of good function and activity

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis varies from patient to patient and depends on the stage and severity of the condition and other existing medical conditions. The main goals of treatment are to manage pain, reduce and stop inflammation, relieve and eliminate symptoms, and prevent long-term joint damage and disabling disease. It is very important to begin treatment early to start reducing inflammation. Some medications work to reduce the inflammation and symptoms of the disease while others work to slow down and prevent joint damage.

Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents (NSAIDs) - These medications work to help reduce symptoms of stiffness and pain, but do not protect the joints from damage. These can be both over the counter or prescription.

Corticosteroids - are generally used on a more short term basis and can be helpful in reducing inflammation acutely and short term while an effective medical program is developed with discussion between the patient and the treating physician. These medications can be very helpful to quickly reduce symptoms of pain and swelling and do have risks for many serious side effects. This is the reason they are used primarily for acute management while the long term program is instituted.

Disease Modifying Anti-rheumatic Drugs (DMARDS) - help reduce the signs and symptoms of RA. They work by slowing down joint damage and reducing inflammation. The conventional DMARDs can be very helpful in reducing the inflammatory activity and potential damage in joints. More aggressive and more successful management with biological DMARDs or monoclonal antibodies and others that have been placed in use over the past 20 years have made huge strides and fantastic differences in the management of this once devastating illness and improved the lives of millions of patients worldwide.

Of course, all medicines have potentially serious risks and must be discussed and understood, and these are very important concerns.

Other aspects of the treatment program may also include physical and occupational therapy, exercises, and proper nutrition. Some nutraceuticals such as omega 3s, flaxseed oil, turmeric/curcumin can add some further anti-inflammatory activity as a supplement but not a replacement for these overwhelmingly successful treatment programs

In severe cases, surgery to repair or replace the joint may become necessary. However, early visits and treatments can help reduce the need for surgery.

 Current treatments and medication offer very effective ways to manage this condition successfully.

For more information on rheumatoid arthritis and its treatment, please contact our Board Certified Rheumatologist  Mark Fisher, MD FACR in Haddon Heights, NJ. Call (856) 547-8004 to schedule your appointment today! He does serve the Southern NJ area in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Atlantic, and Cumberland Counties area.

By Rheumatoid Arthritis
October 29, 2018
Category: Rheumatologist

Find out the best ways to manage your joint pain and inflammation for the long term.

Have you been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis? This chronic autoimmune condition attacks the rheumatoid arthritislining of the joints, causing stiffness in your joints, joint swelling and pain that can lead to complications such as deformity and bone loss and functional impairments. This is the reason it is so important that those with Rheumatoid Arthritis have a Rheumatologist like our own Board Certified Rheumatologist, Dr. Mark Fisher in Haddon Heights, NJ, who can provide the effective treatment plan you need to manage symptoms and to prevent complications and most importantly to try and keep you active and enjoying the activities you love.

Even though there is currently no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis, our Haddon Heights, NJ, Rheumatoid Arthritis Doctor can create a treatment plan and help you determine the right medication (or medications) to help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Our goal is to make living with RA easier for you. Make no mistake about the fact that No Cure DOES NOT MEAN there is no effective life-changing treatments!!  There are good effective treatments available to you!!

Here are the most common treatments that our doctor may prescribe:

ALL Medications have potential risks and the benefits vs risks of medications must always be taken into account for your condition and other medical problems if present.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

This includes those over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen, which can help alleviate mild inflammation and discomfort. Of course, our rheumatologist may also prescribe stronger NSAIDs if these OTC medications aren’t enough.

Corticosteroids

One of the most commonly used steroids for treating RA is prednisone. This is a very strong medication that can handle more severe forms of inflammation while also slowing down joint damage. Of course, this medication should only be used for a short period of time and not long term. This is always to be considered only for temporary care where possible.

Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs

These medications do several  things: they slow the progression of RA ; they help to  protect the joints and tissues around the joints from serious and long-term damage and deformity; they reduce ongoing pain and symptoms of the arthritis by reducing the inflammation caused by this disease; and most importantly, they help to keep patients maintaining their quality of life.

Biological Monoclonal Antibodies and Small Molecule Medications:

These medications act on specific areas of the immune system that are responsible for triggering an inflammatory response in the body and damage from this chronic inflammatory disease. By suppressing these areas of the immune system, the medications can reduce inflammation, joint damage and deformities from occurring, and also other systemic effects of RA. New such medications are becoming available all of the time. These medications, in particular, have been life-changing for so many patients with RA.

These are very costly and the expense can be prohibitive. Fortunately, most insurances do help with these costs.

Also, the pharmaceutical companies do offer financial assistance for most patients requiring it, making it more affordable to many patients.

Other Treatment Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Medications aren’t the only modality needed to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Your Rheumatologist may also recommend exercise or physical therapy to help keep joints feeling their best and keeping mobility optimal. Regular physical therapy can help keep joints supple and flexible. A physical therapist can also provide a list of advice and tips for how to execute certain everyday tasks to make it easier on you and your body.

In severe cases, it might be necessary to have surgery to repair joint damage and keep a patient active. Surgery may also be the only way to restore functionality within certain damaged joints or to correct deformities as a result of RA. Fortunately, the need for surgery has been significantly reduced in patients being treated early with a Rheumatologist with the newer medications currently available.

If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, or if you are experiencing symptoms that you believe to be RA and you are living in or around Haddon Heights, NJ, or Southern NJ in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Atlantic, and Cumberland Counties, please give our office a call today to learn more about the different ways in which we can help you treat your long-term condition early and effectively. Call our Board Certified Rheumatologist 

Mark Fisher MD FACR at 856-547-8004 today.

Most major health insurances and Medicare are accepted.



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