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Rheumatoid Arthritis Specialist

The Hirsh Center

Arthritis and Sports Medicine Center located in Delray Beach, FL


Rheumatoid Arthritis Q & A

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack the tissue surrounding your joints, causing inflammation in the lining (synovium)  surrounding the joints. It often simultaneously affects joints all over your body, and in addition to joint pain, RA may cause problems in your heart, lungs, and skin. As the disease progresses, it can also cause bone deterioration and joint deformity.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

Your symptoms may be chronic or come in flare-ups with periods of remission. Common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Stiff, swollen joints
  • Joints that are red, warm, and tender to the touch
  • Joint pain that lasts more than 30 minutes after periods of rest
  • Inflammation in nearly any joint, like wrists, fingers, shoulders, neck, ankles
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • A general feeling of discomfort

Research indicates that nearly half of all men and women who suffer from RA stop participating in activities they enjoy because their symptoms make it too painful to continue.

Am I at risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis?

Both genetics and environmental factors contribute to your risk for rheumatoid arthritis. So, if you have a family member with RA or if you were exposed to hazardous materials or toxins, you could be at a higher risk for autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, if you smoke, are obese, or are a woman, your risk for RA increases, and the severity of your symptoms may also increase, especially if you smoke.

Having rheumatoid arthritis can also make you more likely to have additional health conditions like osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart problems, and lymphoma.

How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?

The medical team at the Hirsh Center, a leading center in the field of rheumatology, works with you to create an effective treatment plan using state-of-the-art technologies and medications to keep you free from RA flare-ups and pain. The goal of treatment is to decrease joint inflammation, relieve painful symptoms, and prevent irreparable joint damage. The team may use any of the following treatments to provide long-term pain relief and to protect your joints:

  • Prescription medications and anti-inflammatories
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Viscosupplement injections to replace joint fluid and help stiff joints function more easily
  • Medications for your immune system

The Hirsh Center medical team uses ultrasound guidance to administer injections to ensure that medications go directly into the specific area of a painful joint. The Hirsh Center is one of only two practices in the state of Florida that is nationally accredited for musculoskeletal ultrasounds, and it is ranked third in the country for this expertise.

Although RA is incurable, these treatment options can help protect your joints and other systems from the debilitating effects of long-term damage.

Call the office for a consultation or schedule an appointment online to get expert relief for RA.