Houston Pain Specialists
Hui Kang, MD
Pain Management located in Houston, TX
When you think of rheumatoid arthritis, you likely think of the pain, swelling, and stiffness that impact your joints. It may surprise you to learn that the condition can affect your entire body, too. At Houston Pain Specialists in Houston, the team aims to minimize symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and keep the condition from affecting your heart, lungs, skin, and other organs. To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and get started on a treatment plan that works, call the clinic or book your appointment here on their website today.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Q & A
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a joint condition that occurs when your immune system attacks your body’s tissues after mistaking them for invaders. Specifically, the condition eats away at the lining of your joints, causing them to swell and become painfully inflamed. Eventually, the bones in your joints start to erode and become misshapen.
The tissue that surrounds your joints also has the important job of lubricating your joints for smooth movement. Rheumatoid arthritis inhibits this process, too. While it can affect any joint, rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects your:
Surprisingly to many patients, rheumatoid arthritis can also take its toll on other parts of your body. About 40% of patients with the condition get flare-ups in their skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, and other body parts.
What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis usually begins to manifest in your smallest joints, like your fingers and toes, and progresses to the larger joints. Common symptoms are:
- Heat near your joints
- Stiffness (especially in the mornings)
If rheumatoid arthritis spreads to other body parts and systems, it can lead to other symptoms, such as eye dryness, mouth dryness, and shortness of breath. If you have seemingly unrelated symptoms alongside those that affect your joints, there’s a chance that the condition is affecting your whole body.
What happens if I don’t treat my rheumatoid arthritis?
Treating your rheumatoid arthritis could lead to remission, meaning the disease no longer causes inflammation and other symptoms. If your rheumatoid arthritis progresses and you don’t get treatment, you heighten your risk for developing other serious conditions like infections, osteoporosis, lung disease, and heart disease.
How can I manage my rheumatoid arthritis?
It’s important to begin treating your rheumatoid arthritis as soon as you notice symptoms because you can’t reverse existing damage. To help manage your pain and other symptoms, the team at Houston Pain Specialists creates a personalized treatment plan for you. Yours may include:
- Regular exercise
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Steroid or facet injections
- Physical therapy
If these treatments don’t help to slow the progression of your rheumatoid arthritis, your provider may recommend surgery to remove the lining of your joint or to replace an affected joint entirely.
To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and start treatment early if you’re noticing symptoms, don’t hesitate to call Houston Pain Specialists or book your appointment online today.