Around 1.3 million Americans live with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), one of the most common autoimmune conditions in the United States. RA develops when your body's immune system becomes faulty and attacks the synovial membranes that line the insides of your joints and produce lubricating fluids. RA causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the affected joints.
RA symptoms not only make day-to-day tasks challenging, but when left untreated, the condition leads to autoimmune-related complications with your nerves, eyes, lungs, and heart.
The team of board-certified rheumatologists here at Rheumatology Solutions in Northeast San Antonio, Texas, has many years of experience managing RA. We offer innovative treatments to ease your RA symptoms and get it under control quickly.
Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness are early signs of RA. It usually affects small joints in your fingers and toes before progressing to larger joints. You should never ignore joint pains. Especially because rheumatoid arthritis can quickly progress after just a few months to more severe symptoms.
It doesn't take long for your joints to lose mobility and function as your immune system attacks and damages them. Over time, the irritation and inflammation cause erosion and deformity of the joint. As you lose joint function, you begin to struggle with routine daily tasks, like opening jars, bathing, and even walking. Some people end up needing a wheelchair and the assistance of a caregiver to manage day-to-day tasks.
While joint pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms, RA affects other areas of your body. Untreated RA causes active inflammation that can spread throughout your body, including your cardiovascular system, increasing risk for a heart attack or stroke. Inflammation can also damage your lung tissue, leading to shortness of breath and other respiratory symptoms.
RA can also attack your salivary and tear glands, which contributes to dry eyes and mouth. This also makes it much more likely that you'll develop a painful condition known as Sjogren's syndrome, which develops when your glands are unable to create enough moisture in your eyes and mouth.
Getting RA doesn't have to lead to progressively severe symptoms and complications. With early treatment, you have a much higher chance of an improvement in current symptoms and achieving clinical remission.
If you achieve clinical remission, your symptoms disappear, and you can return to your regular activities free from pain, stiffness, and swelling. For some people, your symptoms are gone, but you might have an occasional flare-up from time to time.
Our goal when treating RA is to help you achieve clinical remission and maintain it for as long as possible. We offer personalized treatment plans that might include medications, infusion therapy, and therapeutic injections.
If you have RA, get in touch with us today for an effective treatment plan that'll significantly improve your symptoms and help you live a longer, happier, and healthier life. Call our office or click the "request appointment" button to schedule online.