Age and use don't cause rheumatoid arthritis, as is typical with other forms of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes your system to attack your joints. This special brand of arthritis calls for a particular kind of doctor. The board-certified rheumatologists at the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey have made it their mission to understand and treat rheumatoid arthritis. Call or book an appointment online at their Princeton, Monroe, Somerville, or Flemington, New Jersey location today.
Rheumatoid arthritis differs from all other forms of arthritis because it’s not a degenerative disorder that comes from wear-and-tear like osteoarthritis. Instead, it’s a disorder of your autoimmune system whereby your body mistakenly sees your joints as foreign bodies and attacks them.
The attacking immune response causes your joints to swell, resulting in crippling pain. If left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can harm your cartilage, elastic tissues, and even your bones.
Rheumatoid arthritis can rear its ugly head as early as 30 years old and is three times more likely to strike women and anyone who has a family history with the disorder.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
In its early stages, rheumatoid arthritis tends to attack your smaller joints first -- like fingers and toes -- before moving into elbows, shoulders, knees, and even your hips.
But symptoms aren’t confined to joints when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis. Forty percent of sufferers experience symptoms in other areas, including:
Because rheumatoid arthritis can affect your vital organs, it’s essential to have it treated early so you can stay in control.
The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis varies based on the severity of the symptoms and the unique physiology of the person suffering. Because of this, your treatment with a physician at the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey is very much a team effort.
You and your doctor talk and come up with a plan of attack that best suits your needs. Treatment begins with a blood test to make sure your symptoms are the result of rheumatoid arthritis. From there, you discuss treatment options including medications designed to reduce inflammation and modify your immune system to slow the disorder and save your joints from permanent damage.
Physical therapy is a necessary part of treatment because it keeps your joints active and healthy and can help to alleviate the pain. And, if necessary, surgeries are performed to repair your damaged joints or tendons.
The very best course of action for rheumatoid arthritis is to catch it early and get it under control. To find out if you have rheumatoid arthritis, call or schedule an appointment online with the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey.