Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of autoimmune condition and affects more than 1.3 million Americans. For joint pain, stiffness, and swelling caused by RA, see the orthopedic specialists at Gardner Orthopedics in Fort Myers, Florida. The team offers an extensive array of treatment options to decrease your pain, slow the progression of RA, and improve your quality of life. Find out how Gardner Orthopedics can help with your RA symptoms by calling or booking an appointment online today.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition that leads to inflammation which attacks your joints. Over time, chronic inflammation can lead to severe joint damage and deformity. It can also lead to inflammation and complication in other parts of your body such as your eyes, skin, or lungs.
RA shows up most often in the small joints of the hands and feet. Common symptoms of RA include:
Early diagnosis and treatment of RA can reduce your symptoms and slow down the progression of the condition, possibly preventing long-term disability and deformities.
The exact cause of RA is unknown. As an autoimmune disease, the condition occurs when your immune system becomes dysfunctional and starts attacking part of your body — such as your joints — instead of attacking invading pathogens, like bacteria and viruses. This leads to an inflammatory state where your joints are being irritated by inflammatory chemicals from your immune system. Over time, this inflammation wears away the cartilage in your joints and causes pain and deformity.
If you show signs of RA, the team completes a thorough evaluation and physical exam to assess the structure and function of the affected joints. The team also orders blood tests to check for anemia, rheumatoid antibodies — which signal the autoimmune condition — and inflammation. X-rays may also be taken to determine the extent of damage to your joints from RA.
Based on their findings, the team explains your diagnosis and the severity of your particular case. They then outline an appropriate treatment approach to help you feel your best.
While RA can’t be cured, effective treatment at Gardner Orthopedics can reduce the inflammation associated with the condition and prevent further damage to your joints. In most cases, prescription medications are used to prevent joint damage. These medications are called disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Another class of medications, called biologic response modifiers, may also be prescribed for complex cases.
In severe cases, joint replacement may be recommended if your joints are damaged and prevent you from completing your normal daily activities.
To get testing and treatment for RA, call or book an appointment online at Gardner Orthopedics today.