Rheumatology is the study of joints, ligaments, and muscles. Rheumatologists are responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune and musculoskeletal diseases.
At Southwest Orthopedic Group, our in-house rheumatologists are trained to give precise, accurate medical diagnosis. We treat your health like ours and make sure every part of your treatment plan is geared to nursing you back to optimal health.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is often distinguished by a symmetrical level of pain in the body, meaning both joints on both sides of the body experience discomfort. This is a common disorder characterized by joint pain and inflammation.
Osteoarthritis: Human bones get weaker with old age, which results in the natural breaking down of cartilage. When this happens, the bones and joints can grow stiff and affect a person’s range of motion. Osteoarthritis leads to decreased joint mobility and an audible grinding noise accompanying movement.
Osteoporosis: Under a microscope, healthy bones naturally possesses pores. On the other hand, osteoporotic bones lose density, which results in an increase in the holes and spaces found in bones. This creates weaker bones that are more likely to break.
Gout: Excess uric acid in the bloodstream can lead to the blockage of uric acid crystals in the joints. When this happens, the joints swell up and become disproportionately large. Fortunately, gout naturally goes away after 1-2 weeks of bed rest.
Lupus: Lupus is an autoimmune disease caused by a hyperactive immune system. A patient with lupus will experience joint pain, swelling, and pain from the vital organs. Advancements in medicine make it possible for 80 to 90% of patients to live through a normal lifespan.
Ankylosing Spondylitis: Spinal rigidity is an early sign of ankylosing spondylitis or spine arthritis. Reduced range of movement and stiffness are its most typical symptoms.
Psoriatic Arthritis: Patients with the skin condition psoriasis can experience swelling in the joins. Early diagnosis is the key to treating psoriatic arthritis. With early intervention, damage to the joints can be slowed down and even prevented.
Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome (APS): APS is an autoimmune disorder that causes the antibodies in the immune system to attack perfectly healthy cells. The antibodies misread phospholipids or fat in the cells as harmful foreign bodies, and start attacking them. This causes the cells to rupture, causing blood clot in the arteries and veins.
Dermatomyositis: Known to affect both adults and children, dermatomyositis is characterized by muscle weakness and rash. Although incurable, there are treatment plans designed to mitigate the symptoms of the disease.
Sjogren's Syndrome: Dryness in the eyes and mouth are the common signs of Sjorgen’s syndrome. This autoimmune disease attacks the glands that produce saliva and tears, and may also spread to other places that create moisture such as the blood vessels and digestive organs. This is linked to diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Vasculitis: Inflamed blood vessels can result in constricted or completely obstructed blood flow. In some cases, the blood vessel is so inflamed that it turns swells up and changes in size. This condition is known medically as an aneurysm.
Scleroderma: Scleroderma or hard skin is a condition wherein the body develops waxy patches of skin in various shapes and colors. This form of scleroderma is called morphea. Linear scleroderma, on the other hand, is characterized by hardened skin on the forehead or the limbs. In some cases, this can affect limb growth in children. Another type of scleroderma called systemic sclerosis can affect tissues in the body, which results in the “hardening” of the fibers of internal organs.
Lyme Disease: Lyme disease is an infectious disease transmitted by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. This tick-borne disease is often diagnosed through blood work and treated using doxycycline, cefuroxime, or amoxicillin.
Pseudogout: When arthritis causes your joints to spontaneously swell up, you may be suffering from pseudogout. This is a result of over-lubrication of the joints from the synovial membrane.
Relapsing Polychondritis: As suggested by the name, relapsing polychondritis is an episodic deterioration of the cartilage. This leads to permanent joint deformity when left untreated.
Reactive Arthritis: This is characterized by sharp pains in the joints caused by an infection. The common features of reactive arthritis are persistent lower back pain and swelling of the joints, toes and fingers, as well as the heels.
Raynaud's Disease: Raynaud’s disease is characterized by the narrowing of blood vessels, resulting in reduced blood flow to the toes and fingers. When this happens, the affected areas turn white or blue.
Treatments for musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases vary greatly. More severe cases like an inflamed synovium might lead to a synovectomy or the removal of the synovial membrane. Prostheses are used by those undergoing total joint replacement. Alternatively, joint fusion is another way of restoring stability to the joints in case full joint replacement is not an option.
Medications may also be a part of your treatment plan. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is managed through the use of drugs like ibuprofen and, in more severe cases of pain, steroids.
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