Rheumatology is the diagnosis and treatment of conditions caused by inflammation of joints and muscles.
Sometimes referred to as "wear-and-tear arthritis,” osteoarthritis is the result of damage to the cartilage over time. Joint movement becomes limited and sometimes painful, when the "cushion” at the joint wears down. Any joint can be affected, but most commonly it affects knees, hips, feet, fingers, neck and lower back. An estimated 27 million people in the U.S. have some degree of osteoarthritis.
Symptoms and signs of osteoarthritis:
- Joint stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Pain in joint
- Joint may be warm to touch
- Muscle weakness and joint instability
In rheumatoid arthritis, RA, the body’s own immune system attacks its tissues, causing swelling, stiffness and joint pain. The condition may result in joint damage and, if severe, deformity. RA affects about 1.3 million people in the U.S., three quarters of which are women.
Symptoms and signs of Rheumatoid arthritis:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Joint stiffness, especially in the morning
- Involvement of multiple joints usually in a symmetrical pattern
- Other organ involvement such as eyes and lungs
- Lumps called rheumatoid nodules
Another auto-immune disease that disproportionately affects women is systemic lupus erythematosus, also known as SLE, or lupus.
Common symptoms and signs of lupus:
- Joint pain
- rashes, particularly a rash in a 'butterfly" shape across the cheeks and bridge of nose
- sun sensitivity
- inflammation of lining of the lung or heart
- anemia and low white blood count
To learn more about the physicians that offer these services, click on the names listed to the right, or to schedule an appointment call (360) 830-1605.