Rheumatoid Arthritis Specialist

Brooklyn Health Medical Alliance Primary Care

General Internal Medicine located in Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis. At Brooklyn Health Medical Alliance, Ahmar Butt, MD, Lalasa Valasareddi, MD, and the team provide patient-centered care for rheumatoid arthritis at their office in the Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. Early intervention is key when treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. To learn more, call or schedule an appointment online today.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Q&A

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that causes chronic swelling of the joints. 

While rheumatoid arthritis can affect any of your joints, it commonly causes inflammation in the joints in your hands and feet. 

Once the disease advances, rheumatoid arthritis can spread to the joints in your wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. 

Early intervention can help you retain the use of your small and large joints. Without treatment, rheumatoid arthritis can limit your mobility, flexibility, and range of motion. 

What causes rheumatoid arthritis?

Unlike osteoarthritis, which develops gradually from wear-and-tear on your joints, rheumatoid arthritis is an immune condition. Your body’s immune system attacks the lining of the membranes that surround your joints, called synovium. 

As rheumatoid arthritis progresses, the synovium thickens and degrades the cartilage that cushions your joints.

While experts don’t know exactly what causes rheumatoid arthritis, risk factors for the condition include:

  • Being a woman
  • Being middle-aged
  • Family history of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Smoking
  • Obesity

Certain environmental factors, such as exposure to asbestos, may also increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis can feel like a crippling condition that affects your physical, emotional, and mental health. In addition to joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis can affect your eyes, skin, kidneys, lungs, and other important internal structures.

The most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are:

  • Swollen joints
  • Joint stiffness
  • Tender joints
  • Joints that feel hot
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis experience rheumatoid nodules, hardened lumps that develop underneath the skin.

What are the treatments for rheumatoid arthritis?

There’s no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but the team at Brooklyn Health Medical Alliance uses a multifaceted approach to treatment that can help manage your symptoms. Common treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include:

Medication

The type of medication the team recommends for your arthritis depends on the severity of your condition. 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce pain and inflammation, while certain steroids may minimize swelling and joint damage. 

Studies show that disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) help slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

Physical therapy

Regular physical therapy and occupational therapy can improve flexibility and range of motion in your joints to prevent damage.

If you’re struggling with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, call Brooklyn Health Medical Alliance or schedule an appointment online today.