Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Center for Primary Healthcare -  - Internal Medicine

The Center for Primary Healthcare

Internal Medicine & Pediatrics located in Orland Park, IL

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition that stems from severe joint inflammation and often leads to a wide range of other health complications. At The Center for Primary Healthcare in Orland Park, Illinois, William Crevier, MD, and Suzanne Deese, MSN, APRN, CNP, help you live a healthy life with rheumatoid arthritis through comprehensive symptom management. Schedule an appointment today by phone or online to learn more.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Q & A

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disorder. With this condition, your body mistakenly attacks healthy cells. In most cases, rheumatoid arthritis develops as a result of a genetic predisposition.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, the tissue that protects your joints from becoming inflamed causes pain and swelling. In some cases, your cartilage and bone wear down, and your joints twist as the ligaments and tendons holding them together weaken.

Rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect more women than men. You also run the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis if you struggle with being overweight or obesity, or if you smoke regularly.

While you can develop rheumatoid arthritis at any age, most people with the condition are in their middle years.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

The most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Heat sensation in the joint
  • Joint stiffness
  • Swollen and tender joints

In its early stages, rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints at the base of your fingers and toes, and gradually spreads to other joints. It may also manifest itself first as osteoarthritis and cause fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite.

With rheumatoid arthritis, you run the risk of contracting any of the following health problems:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid nodules
  • Infections
  • Sjogren's syndrome
  • Cardiac problems
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Lung disease
  • Lymphoma

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, get in touch with The Center for Primary Healthcare for expert diagnosis and comprehensive treatment.

How is rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed?

During your appointment at The Center for Primary Healthcare, Dr. Crevier might recommend a blood test to track signs of inflammation, antibodies, and other rheumatoid factors.

Your doctor evaluates your symptoms and any physical signs of the condition. He might also order an MRI, ultrasound, or X-ray to confirm the diagnosis.

How do you treat rheumatoid arthritis?

There is no available cure for rheumatoid arthritis but there are ways to slow its progression. Dr. Crevier might recommend any of the following symptom-management treatments:

  • Corticosteroid medication
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Biologic response modifiers
  • Antirheumatic medication

You might benefit from physical therapy and regular exercise to slow the progression of the condition. Inactivity adds increased pressure on your joints, so staying active is vital to staying healthy.

In extreme cases, your doctor might recommend surgical intervention, such as joint fusion or joint replacement therapy.

To learn more about the steps you can take to live a long, healthy life with rheumatoid arthritis, get in touch with the office today by phone or online to schedule an appointment.