Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis services offered in North Houston, Tomball, TX

You may be able to ignore the first signs of stiff, tender joints, but don’t wait too long to seek an evaluation from Qaiser Rehman, MD, at the Rheumatology Clinic of Houston. The sooner you learn the cause of your symptoms and start treatment, the better your chances are of preventing inflammation that causes permanent joint deformities. To learn more about the exceptional care provided by Dr. Rehman, book an appointment online or call the office in Tomball, Texas, today.

What causes rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis develops when your immune system attacks the synovial tissues that line the inside of your joints. This autoimmune condition causes inflammation and swelling, leading to painful, stiff joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis usually begins in small joints, most often in your fingers and feet. However, it may develop in your shoulders, knees, spine, and other joints. Additionally, rheumatoid arthritis affects the same joint on both sides of your body.

What symptoms arise from rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis causes symptoms that appear in cycles. You have periods of remission (without symptoms) that alternate with flare-ups. During a flare, you have:

  • Tender, swollen joints
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Low-grade fever
  • Fatigue

The joint pain and stiffness are usually worse when you wake up in the morning, typically lasting for hours. You may also develop firm lumps (nodules) around the joint. Without treatment, the ongoing inflammation erodes your bones and causes deformities.

Does rheumatoid arthritis affect other body areas?

Unfortunately, about 40% of people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis develop other inflammatory conditions, including:

  • Eye disorders (dry eyes, uveitis, and scleritis)
  • Cardiovascular disease (accelerated atherosclerosis)
  • Blood disorders (anemia and thrombocytosis)
  • Lung diseases (nodules and pleural effusion)

Chronic inflammation and the corticosteroids used to treat inflammation increase your risk of osteoporosis.

How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?

Dr. Rehman uses today’s most advanced rheumatoid arthritis treatment, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). DMARDs are game-changers because they relieve your symptoms and slow down joint damage. In many people, DMARDs can put the disease into remission.

If you struggle with severe symptoms, you may need medications called biologics. Biologics reduce existing inflammation and also block immune system activities that cause inflammation. You need to get some biologics through an intravenous (IV) infusion in a dedicated suite at the Rheumatology Clinic of Houston.

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis also includes getting regular exercise. However, you also need to choose gentle activities that won’t stress your joints and limit some exercise during flares. That’s why Dr. Rehman often recommends seeing a physical therapist who can guide your exercise plan.

You can depend on Dr. Rehman’s customized care whether your joint pain just started or you need better relief from ongoing rheumatoid arthritis. Schedule an appointment today by calling the office or booking online.