Autoimmune

Three Common Causes of Osteoporosis

Posted in Orthopedics, Autoimmune on Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become brittle, frail, and prone to fracture, is a potentially debilitating disease that affects many women and men. Women are particularly predisposed to developing osteoporosis for a variety of reasons. However, men can also be at risk for osteoporosis, as are smokers and people with low body weight. There are three common causes of osteoporosis:

1. Estrogen Deficiencies in Women

Women typically suffer estrogen deficiencies during perimenopause and menopause. Younger women can suffer from estrogen deficiency if they have stopped menstruating or if they have had a reproductive organ surgically removed. When estrogen levels are low, bone loss accelerates, as the bones are no longer able to replenish mineral stores as efficiently as needed. This leads to bones becoming less dense, porous, and more likely to fracture. Proper hormone therapy can help curb estrogen deficiency in women.


Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Posted in Autoimmune on Thursday, 06 February 2014

Arthritis is one of the most common debilitating joint diseases, affecting more than 50 million people throughout the United States. Indeed, as the U.S. population ages, the incidence of arthritis is expected to increase. Arthritis comes in two primary forms, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis and Its Symptoms

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease of the joints that may be caused by aging joints, injured joints, or obesity. The disease, which is more prevalent in women, may affect the joints in the hand, wrist, neck, back, knee, hip, or a combination of any of the above. The symptoms of OA vary from individual to individual. There are some instances where people have X-rays that show obvious degeneration of the joints, yet they experience very little pain. In other cases, people experience excruciating pain. In still other cases, people experience pain temporarily and then go without pain for months or years before suffering from pain again.

OA of the spine and hand is typically associated with the formation of bony spurs. OA of the knees is typically associated with obesity, repeated injury, or joint surgery. OA of the fingers can cause the formation of hard bony enlargements at the small joints or middle joints of the finger.

Tags osteoarthritis

Lupus – Common Symptoms

Posted in Orthopedics, Autoimmune on Wednesday, 06 November 2013

What is Lupus?

Lupus (lupus erythematosus) is an autoimmune disease that attacks the body’s tissues and organs.  Lupus usually irritates the skin and may cause inflammation in multiple areas including: skin, joints, kidneys, heart and lungs, and the blood cells. Generally, when someone gets sick, like having a “cold,”  your body’s immune system will create antibodies to fight off the germs and bacteria that are making you sick. In the case of a Lupus patient, the immune system is unable to decipher between foreign cells, such as viruses, and the cells and tissues that make up the body. Without this ability to tell the difference between foreign bacteria and the cells and tissues, the immune system, wrongly attacks the body.  

What are the Symptoms?

It can be very difficult to diagnose Lupus as the symptoms are often similar to those in other diseases and ailments. For instance, a lupus patient may feel fatigued or have a fever, but there are many ailments that may cause these symptoms.  Someone with a cold or flu may be both fatigued and have a fever, and sometimes, simply not eating healthy food and getting proper rest can cause you to feel fatigued. With that said, typically a specific butterfly looking facial rash, along with the other symptoms may help your physician diagnose your condition.


Osteoarthritis of the Knee - Why does your knee hurt?

Posted in Orthopedics, Autoimmune on Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis is fairly common in the knees because the knees bear the weight of the entire body. Every time you walk, run, or stand your knees have to endure the load, and as a result of the stress, the cartilage in the knee begins to break down over time.  Osteoarthritis can be very painful and have a severe impact on a person’s life and activity level.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

The main cause of osteoarthritis of the knee is normal wear and tear that comes with aging, however it can also be the result of repetitive stress injuries or athletics.  Any occupation or sport that requires constant pressure on the knee joint, increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis.  For instance, warehouse dock workers that load and unload freight all day, are constantly putting their knee  joints under pressure. The same could be said for a football or basketball player.  It’s key to understand that moderate exercise and stretching improves the strength of the knees, but it’s the repetitive overuse that increases risk.

What Are The Symptoms?

The symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee include the usual suspects:  pain, swelling and stiffness.  You may find that at certain times of the day, you feel more stifness than pain. For many people, upon waking up, stiffness is at its worst, and after an activity like jogging,  pain and swelling increase.  Another common complaint is the knee becomes weak and buckles when walking or running.


5 Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Posted in Orthopedics, Autoimmune, Pain Management on Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritist can cause pain in the hands that make even the simplest of tasks difficultRheumatoid Arthritis or RA is a chronic autoimmune disorder that can be very painful. RA causes inflammation of the joints which can lead to stiffness and swelling in the affected area. The key to slowing the progression of the disease is recognizing the symptoms and getting treatment as early as possible. Unfortunately, recognizing the symptoms can be tricky as RA may have periods of remission and during those periods there will likely be no symptoms. The key is to listen to your body and not ignore the symptoms.

Numbness or tingling in the hands

One of the most common symptoms of RA is numbness or tingling in the hands. The inflammation compresses the nerves which may cause pain in the wrist area or the hands. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a known condition that affects the wrists and hands and also may be an early sign of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Morning Stiffness

Morning stiffness is a common complaint of people with RA. The joints are usually very stiff and may have limited range of motion in the morning and then loosen during the day with movement and activity.

Joint Pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect many areas of the body but pain is often directly related to joints. The numbness and tingling in the hands is a common area affected, but pain may be felt in the knees, elbows, shoulders, jaw or neck.

Fatigue

Fatigue by itself is not enough to classify it as a symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis. But constant fatigue in combination with some of the other symptoms, like pain in the joints or tingling in the hands, may be a result of inflammation caused by RA.

Foot Pain

Some people with RA find they have pain in the heel or forefront of the foot as a result of the inflammation. The pain can be such that it stops men from wearing dress shoes or women from heels.

Don’t Ignore the Symptoms of RA

Rheumatoid Arthritis may affect your entire body, but more commonly you will have pain in your hands or joint areas like knees or elbows. The pain or stiffness may be worse in the morning and take you a few hours to feel like you have loosened up.

Remember, individually not all of the symptoms will be good indications of RA, but if you have multiple symptoms, that may be a better indication of the possibility of the disorder. Knowing these symptoms may help you recognize the disease early and get the proper treatment. The key is to not ignore the symptoms and to speak with a physician as soon as the symptoms surface.

 

This information is not intended to provide advise or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s).


What is Arthritis of the hands?

Posted in Orthopedics, Autoimmune, Pain Management on Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Do you have pain in your wrist or hands? Do you have stiffness in your fingers that seems to be worst in the mornings? What about numbness in your fingers? All of these symptoms are common with arthritis in the hands. Arthritis in the hands can dramatically reduce the quality of life as not having full usage of your hands can really alter how you do things or stop normal day-to-day activities completely.

What is arthritis of the hand?

Arthritis is a condition that describes inflammation of the joints. The most common form of arthritis is degenerative arthritis, also called osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis in your hands can limit functionality and cause much pain due to the loss of cartilage as it wears over time. Osteoarthritis of the hands is usually experienced later in life as it is a degenerative disease.

What are some of the symptoms?

While there are many types of arthritis many of them have common symptoms. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Pain in hands or fingers
  • Stiffness in hands, especially early in the morning and may improve with day.
  • Swollen joints in hands
  • Hand or wrist may have limited range of motion
  • Affected hand joint may be tender to the touch

How To Decrease The Risk Of Osteoporosis

Posted in Orthopedics, Autoimmune on Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Osteoporosis is a serious condition that weakens the bones and can lead to increased risk of bone fractures. There are typically no symptoms of osteoporosis until a bone is broken.  If you are interested in learning more about what you can do to prevent osteoporosis, continue reading to find out how you can make some simple changes to your diet and lifestyle to reduce your risk. However, please discuss any changes to your diet with your physician.

Measures to reduce the risk of osteoporosis are based on a healthy diet that is rich with calcium, adequate vitamin D intake, exercise and other healthy habits. The following tips may help you prevent osteoporosis or slow down the development:

  1. Increase your intake of calcium. Calcium and vitamin D are essential for healthy bones. Adequate intake of the recommended daily amounts of calcium is recommended (adults need about 1000 mg of calcium per day), vitamin D can be acquired by exposure to sunlight for 15 minutes (older people who spend very little time outdoors should take extra amounts).
  2. Exercise. Sports in which the bones bear the weight of the whole body (running, walking, strength training, aerobics, jumping over obstacles, yoga, etc...), will help you strengthen your bones.
  3. Change your diet for the better. Calcium, vitamin D and magnesium are important components of the diet, but do not neglect those meals that will give you the energy you need to stay active. Also keep in mind that some habits, particularly those that are salt rich and caffeine can affect the rate of bone loss. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a physician or nutritionist if you are unsure of the quality of your diet.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts added pressure on the bones.

Managing The Chronic Pain Of Fibromyalgia

Posted in Autoimmune, Pain Management on Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain that can become debilitating at times. The pain usually travels from one area of the body to another, sometimes moving multiple times a day. This condition affects about 1 in 50 people in the U.S.  and more women than men. In fact about 80-90% of fibromyalgia patients are women. People who live with Fibromyalgia usually experience chronic and wide-spread pain that can affect the entire body. Managing this painful and debilitating condition takes a proactive and thoughtful approach that starts with understanding the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

The Most Common Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia

Aside of chronic pain and fatigue, people with Fibromyalgia can experience a wide variety of other symptoms including:

  • Headaches and even migraines
  • A poor quality of sleep or sleep disturbances
  • Memory problems that are sometimes call “fibro fog”
  • Stiffness in the morning
  • RLS or restless legs syndrome
  • Numbness or tingling of the arms and legs
  • Sensitivity to bright lights, loud noises, and changes in temperature
  • IBS or irritable bowel syndrome

Common Diseases Treated By A Rheumatologist

Posted in Orthopedics, Autoimmune on Tuesday, 17 July 2012

As we have discussed in the past, a rheumatologist can treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Many people know that arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), lupus, and fibromyalgia are best treated by a rheumatologist. What most people don’t know is that these diseases fall into a confusing category called autoimmune diseases. To help clear up the confusion here are some of the more common diseases that rheumatologist treat:

Sjogren's syndrome

A patient with Sjogren’s syndrome might first experience a dry mouth and eyes due to glands and membranes that keep things moist decreasing their production. Later on the patient may begin to experience fatigue, rashes, a dry cough, joint stiffness, and skin dryness.

Scleroderma (Systemic Sclerosis)

Most people think collagen is for beauty treatments, but for patients with scleroderma collagen builds up in their organs and skin. The typical symptoms of scleroderma are loss of hair, sores on the fingers and toes, hardening skin that may get darker or lighter, joint pain,  breathing problems, and digestive issues.

Dermatomyositis

Most commonly seen in women, but not unheard of in men, dermatomyositis can cause a rash, inflammation, muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, skin and eyelids that become purple, and shortness of breath. The cause of this disease is not clear, but some rheumatologists believe it is caused by a viral infection in the muscles.

Polymyositis

When a patient experiences a chronic inflammation of their muscles that causes their muscles to weaken it may be polymyositis. Most commonly seen in African American women between the ages of 30 to 50, this disease may cause difficulty speaking and swallowing, fatigue, shortness of breath, and increasing muscle weakness.

Tags gout

The 8 Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis That Should Watch Out

Posted in Autoimmune on Thursday, 05 July 2012

Most people who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) know all about its primary symptom, joint stiffness and swelling. While this is the most common and noticeable symptom it is not the worst problem that RA patients can suffer. While managing pain is an important part of treating rheumatoid arthritis, a rheumatologist will treat more than just that. Any tissue in the body, not just the joints, can be affected by inflammation caused by RA. This means there are some serious symptoms and complications that any person with rheumatoid arthritis should watch out for.


The Serious Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Shortness of Breath – The heart’s muscles can become inflamed due to RA. Due to the potential for swelling, patients suffering with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk for heart problems including heart attacks.

Numbness & Tingling – Rheumatoid arthritis can cause the connective tissue in the hands and feet to become inflamed. This inflammation can cause impingement of the nerves, which can cause the hands and feet to feel numb or tingle. Worse, the pressure on the nerves can cause permanent nerve damage.

Problems Lifting Limbs – The same problem that can cause the hands and feet to feel numb can also make them difficult to move. This symptom also means there is a potential for not only nerve damage but also for paralysis.

Spots On Your Fingers – The blood vessels around the body can also become inflamed from rheumatoid arthritis. This inflammation can actually stop the blood from flowing to the tissues. That lack of blood flow can cause the tissues to die, which can create red or black spots, usually first seen on the fingers and fingertips.


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