Patient Education

BW Arthritis & Rheumatology would like to be your partner in health care. Feel free to ask your questions and share your concerns with us. We will work with you to develop a wellness program for the care and treatment you need.

We welcome you to our practice and look forward to caring for you.

BW Arthritis & Rheumatology provides a full range of medical services including the following:


Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of chronic inflammatory arthritis that significantly affects the joints of the spine. This autoimmune condition causes swelling between the vertebrae, and often affects one or both sacroiliac joints, the joints that attach the spine to the pelvis. In severe cases, the extreme swelling may cause the bones of the spine to fuse. Pain, swelling, and stiffness in the lower back are the typical symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis, but inflammation may occur in other parts of the body, including the eyes. Men are more likely than women to develop ankylosing spondylitis and it most commonly occurs in late adolescence or early adulthood. ...


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Behcet's Syndrome

Behcet's syndrome, also referred to as Behcet's disease or Silk Road disease, is a rare condition involving inflammation in certain blood vessels throughout the body. It can result in a wide range of symptoms. This condition is more common in the Middle East and Asia than in other parts of the world. The long-term effects of Behcet's syndrome are not precisely known, although symptoms are believed to become less severe after about 20 years. ...


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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes fatigue, as well as widespread pain and tenderness in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. People with fibromyalgia have specific tender points on their bodies that are particularly sensitive when pressure is applied. Fibromyalgia is also associated with sleep problems, headaches and trouble concentrating. Women are more likely than men to develop fibromyalgia, as are people between 40 and 60 years old. ...


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Giant Cell Arteritis

Giant cell arteritis, also known as temporal arteritis or cranial arteritis, is an inflammation of the lining of the large and medium arteries of the head, especially those in the temples. This inflammation causes swelling and may decrease blood flow, resulting in severe pain. The disorder is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are often indistinguishable from those of other illnesses. It is critical to treat giant cell arteritis promptly because it can lead to serious consequences, including tissue damage, stroke, or aortic aneurysm. ...


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Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that causes painful, swollen, red and inflamed joints. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid that forms crystals in the joints and surrounding tissue. Uric acid is a natural waste product of the body that is normally filtered out of the bloodstream by the kidneys and excreted during urination. Patients with gout have an abnormal metabolism that reduces the effectiveness of the kidneys, causing uric acid to accumulate in the blood. ...


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Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, sometimes referred to as juvenile idiopathic arthritis, is an autoimmune disorder that causes symptoms of arthritis in children. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints and commonly affects children under the age of 16, causing pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. Symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis may come and go, and may last for a short time or for years. This condition may lead to growth problems and eye inflammation in some children. ...


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Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease is a rare condition in children that causes the arterial walls, including those of the coronary arteries, to become inflamed. The disease is not contagious and cannot be prevented. Kawasaki disease mainly affects children younger than 5 years of age, and occurs more frequently in boys than girls. The disease is seen more in children of Japanese or Korean descent, but can occur in children of any racial or ethnic group. ...


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Lupus

Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus, is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues and organs, causing inflammation and damage to different parts of the body. Lupus may damage various parts of the body including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels and brain. Lupus is a serious disease that affects women more than men and is more common in women of African-American, Hispanic or Asian descent. There is currently no cure for lupus, however there are treatments available that help to relieve the symptoms. ...


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Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium spread to humans by the bite of an infected black-legged tick. The tick becomes infected with the bacteria if it has bitten an infected mouse or deer. Humans are most frequently bitten by young ticks (nymphs) that are small and difficult to spot. Individuals who go to places where black-legged ticks are prevalent should take care to protect themselves. Most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated if diagnosed early, but left untreated can result in serious, life-altering symptoms. ...


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Mixed Connective Tissue Disease

Mixed connective tissue disease, sometimes referred to as an overlap disease, is a disorder that includes signs and symptoms of a combination of disorders including lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis, and in some cases, rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms of mixed connective tissue disease don't always appear all at once and may occur in sequence over a number of years, which can make diagnosing this disease difficult. Mixed connective tissue disease can cause inflammation and damage to various parts of the body and can affect joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and the brain. It is most common in women under 30, however children may sometimes be affected by this disorder. ...


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Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder that causes a breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles. When an individual is afflicted with myasthenia gravis, abnormalities of the thymus gland cause the immune system to attack against healthy neurotransmitter substances and prevent them from helping muscles contract. This disorder leads to muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, impaired speech and visual difficulties. It is more common in women under the age of 40 and men over the age of 60. Myasthenia gravis is a degenerative disorder and as it progresses the symptoms get worse. ...


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Myositis

Myositis is a rare autoimmune disease that causes muscles to become swollen and inflamed. This disorder affects the voluntary muscles of the body that consciously control movement. Myositis may develop slowly over time and can range in severity from mild to severe. Myositis causes progressive weakness and inflammation in muscles throughout the body and can affect adults and children. ...


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Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a condition that causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It develops as the cartilage protecting the bones of a joint wears down over time. Over the years, as stress is put on the joints, cartilage wears thin and sometimes even erodes completely, resulting in stiffness and pain. It occurs more frequently in older individuals, however it sometimes develops in athletes from overuse of a joint or after an injury. It commonly affects the fingers, knees, lower back and hips, and is often treated with medication, specific exercises, and physical therapy. In severe cases, joint replacement surgery may be suggested. Osteoarthritis tends to get worse over time. ...


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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bones to become weak and brittle, placing them at a high risk for fracture. In all individuals, bone wears down over time, but is replaced with new bone tissue. As people age, bone loss occurs at a faster rate than new bone is created, resulting in osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the result of increasing bone loss, and is more common in older people, especially women. ...


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Paget's Disease of Bone

Paget's disease of bone, or Paget's disease, is a chronic disorder that interferes with bone metabolism, causing bones to grow too large and become fragile. Even in full-grown adults, bones continue to grow in order to renew themselves, a process known as remodeling. Paget's disease disrupts this normal bone-recycling process, commonly affecting the spine, pelvis, skull or legs. At the onset, the disease causes old bone to deteriorate more quickly than new bone can be created. As the disorder progresses, the body responds by generating new bone at an abnormally rapid rate. This new bone is soft and weak, leading to pain, possible fractures and deformities. ...


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Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory condition that causes pain and stiffness in certain muscles of the body. Polymyalgia rheumatica commonly affects the neck, shoulders and hips and the symptoms are often experienced after long periods of rest or sitting. Polymyalgia rheumatica commonly occurs in people over the age of 50 and becomes more common as age increases. This condition affects women more than men and in many cases the symptoms may appear suddenly and develop rapidly. In severe cases, polymyalgia rheumatica may affect a person's ability to perform simple tasks and everyday activities. ...


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Pseudogout

Pseudogout is a condition in which salt crystals form in the joints, causing bouts of arthritis, swelling and pain. Also known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease, pseudogout was named for its similarity to the condition of gout. Both conditions cause similar symptoms, however the causes of these conditions may differ and the salt crystals are formed by the production of different substances within the body. While the salt crystals formed by gout are the result of an overproduction of uric acid or monosodium urate, the salt crystals formed by pseudogout are made up of calcium pyrophosphate. ...


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Raynaud's Phenomenon

Raynaud's phenomenon is a condition that causes the fingers and toes to turn blue or white and become numb after exposure to cold temperatures, or in response to emotional stress. Raynaud's phenomenon is caused by a constriction of blood vessels in the affected area that cause the skin to change color temporarily. Although it most commonly affects the fingers and toes, this condition can also affect the nose, lips or earlobes. Raynaud's phenomenon is more common in women and people who live in cold climates. ...


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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes symptoms of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. It may also affect other organs of the body including the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than men and it usually develops in individuals older than the age of 40. Treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and preventing joint damage, and commonly includes medication to suppress the immune system and reduce pain and inflammation. ...


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Rheumatoid Arthritis Foot Deformity

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, caused by the body attacking its own healthy tissue. With rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the lining or membrane of the joints, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint in the body and often affects the ankles and feet. When the lining of the joints within the feet become swollen and inflamed because of rheumatoid arthritis, the joints may become deformed causing physical malformations of the foot. ...


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Scleroderma

Scleroderma is a disease that involves the formation of scar tissue within the skin and in some case, other organs of the body. This condition causes a hardening and thickening of the skin and may also affect the blood vessels, digestive tract, and in severe cases, the heart, lungs, kidneys or other vital organs. Localized scleroderma only affects the skin on the hands and face and rarely affects other areas of the body. Systemic scleroderma may affect additional areas of the skin as well as internal organs. Scleroderma is considered a rare condition, and it is more common in women than in men. Symptoms of scleroderma often occur between the ages of 30 and 50. ...


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Sjogren's Syndrome

Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that has two common identifying symptoms: dry mouth and dry eyes, but it may progress to affect joints, skin and vital organs. Women are more likely to suffer from this condition and patients are usually diagnosed with the disorder after the age of 40. The cause of Sjogren's syndrome is unknown, although genetic components seem to put some individuals at greater risk for developing the disease. There is some evidence that Sjogren's syndrome may be triggered by a viral or bacterial infection. Often the syndrome occurs in patients who have another immune disorder, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. ...


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Takayasu's Arteritis

Takayasu's arteritis is a rare form of vasculitis, a series of conditions linked to inflamed blood vessels. In this particular form, the inflammation causes damage to the aorta, the artery that brings blood from the heart to the rest of the body, and the arteries leading to the head and kidneys. This disorder can lead to stenosis (abnormally narrowed or blocked arteries) or to aneurysm (abnormally distended arteries). Takayasu's arteritis can result in arm or chest pain and high blood pressure and carries the risk of causing heart failure or stroke. Takayasu's arteritis primarily affects females under the age of 40. ...


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Vasculitis

Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels. This condition occurs when the immune system attacks a blood vessel, causing it to narrow and possibly close off. If this happens, the affected blood vessel stretches and weakens, resulting in a bulge known as an aneurysm. Since vasculitis may disrupt the flow of blood to any part of the body, it can lead to tissue and organ damage and may be life-threatening. ...


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Wegener's Granulomatosis

Wegener's granulomatosis, also known as granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), is a rare disease characterized by the inflammation of blood vessels. In addition to blocking blood flow to vital organs, this condition causes the formation of granulomas (inflamed masses) around the blood vessels, destroying normal tissue. ...


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