Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis services offered in Cranston, RI

More than 1.3 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints and their lining (synovium). At RI Rheumatology, in Cranston, Rhode Island, triple-board-certified rheumatologist and internal medicine physician Deepan Dalal MD, MPH, RhMSUS, and his team offer various treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, including physical therapy, prescription medication, biologics, and surgery. Call RI Rheumatology to request an appointment or book one online today.

What causes rheumatoid arthritis?

Researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but several factors are thought to contribute, including genetics, environmental factors, and hormones. A healthy immune system protects your body from disease, but rheumatoid arthritis causes it to attack your joints. 

As the condition worsens, it causes widespread inflammation. Without treatment, that inflammation damages your cartilage and other surrounding tissues, resulting in pain, stiffness, and mobility problems. 

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include the following:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Pain and stiffness in the joints throughout your body
  • Joint swelling and tenderness

If you experience any of these issues and they last for more than a week, contact RI Rheumatology.

Who gets rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis often affects adults between the ages of 30 and 60, but it can also occur in children and teens. Several things may increase your risk, including:

  • Having close relatives with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Being a woman
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs in stages. The sooner you receive a diagnosis, the sooner you can prevent it from worsening.

How is rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed?

Your RI Rheumatology provider reviews your medical records, asks about your symptoms, and completes a physical exam. Then, they order lab tests, including bloodwork and joint fluid tests. Bloodwork analyzes your blood for antibodies –– proteins caused by inflammation.

They also order diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs, to look at your bones, joints, and surrounding tissues.

How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?

The RI Rheumatology team treats rheumatoid arthritis using a conservative and patient-centered approach. They may recommend:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • COX-2 inhibitors
  • Corticosteroids
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
  • Infusions of biologics
  • Ultrasound-guided pain management injections

If these treatments don’t provide lasting relief, or you have severely damaged joints, the team might recommend joint replacement surgery. Joint replacement can restore your range of motion and eliminate the pain.

What’s the outlook for someone with rheumatoid arthritis?

You can’t reverse the damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis; however, a combination of professional treatment and healthy lifestyle changes can keep your inflammation in check and reduce the frequency of flare-ups. 

The RI Rheumatology team monitors your progress over time and adjusts your treatment plan as necessary to give you maximum control over your life. 

Call RI Rheumatology to explore the treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, or book your appointment online today.