An estimated 1.3 million American adults have rheumatoid arthritis, and 75% of them are women. As an expert in rheumatoid arthritis, Deep Dalal, MD, FACR, RhMSUS, at BW Arthritis & Rheumatology, PA, has helped many patients find relief from the pain, keep their rheumatoid arthritis in remission, and prevent joint deformities. Early treatment improves your long-term outcome, so schedule an appointment online or call the office in Glen Burnie, Maryland, when you develop swollen, painful, and stiff joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis develops when your immune system attacks the synovium, which is the tissue that lines the inner surface of your joints. The synovium produces fluid that lubricates the joint and nourishes cartilage and bones.
As the synovium becomes inflamed, you develop swelling and pain. Over time, ongoing inflammation destroys cartilage and bone inside the joint, resulting in permanent damage and joint deformity.
Rheumatoid arthritis typically occurs in the same joints on both sides of your body. The disease often begins in the small joints of your fingers, wrists, toes, and feet. It then progresses to affect other joints such as your knees, elbows, shoulders, and hips.
Most patients go through cycles in which their symptoms flare up and then go into remission. You’ll experience symptoms such as:
Joint stiffness in the morning lasts at least 1-2 hours, but it usually improves with movement. Prolonged stiffness after sleeping is one of the earliest signs of rheumatoid arthritis.
The inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis spreads beyond the joints to affect other parts of the body in about 40% of all patients.
When this happens, you’ll develop additional symptoms, such as small lumps under your skin and dry eyes. You’re also at risk for serious complications in your lungs and cardiovascular system.
Dr. Dalal treats rheumatoid arthritis with several medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids effectively reduce inflammation and relieve your pain.
A group of medications called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) also relieve symptoms and do much more — they can slow or stop progressive joint damage.
Some medications are administered using an intravenous infusion. If you need this type of treatment, you can relax and get your treatment in the office thanks to their private infusion suite. The suite is staffed with dedicated registered nurses and offers TV and WiFi access.
In addition to medication, your treatment includes physical therapy so that you can learn exercises to reduce pain, keep your joints flexible, and improve your range of motion.
Early treatment for rheumatoid arthritis helps to improve your overall health and prevent disease progression. To schedule an appointment, call BW Arthritis & Rheumatology, PA, or click the online booking tab.