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Rheumatoid Arthritis Specialist

Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists

Rheumatologists located in Plantation, FL

Rheumatoid arthritis begins with inflammation in your joints, resulting in swelling and pain that may come and go, a characteristic that makes it hard to identify early signs of the disease. Dr. Guillermo Valenzuela and Dr. Marilu Colon at Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists can help with an early diagnosis and medical treatment that inhibits progression and protects your joints from deformity. To schedule an appointment for expert rheumatoid arthritis care, use online booking or call the office in Plantation, Florida.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Q & A

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy tissues. The disease starts in the lining of your joints, causing painful inflammation and swelling.

Over time, the inflammation erodes bones in the joint, causing joint deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of your body.

What are the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs in the same joints on both sides of your body. It commonly begins in the small joints of your hands and feet, then gradually spreads to wrists, knees, ankles, hips, and other joints.

Symptoms often come and go, with times when they increase, called flares, alternating with periods of remission when swelling and pain diminish or disappear.

Joint symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Tender, swollen joints on both sides of your body
  • Pain and stiffness lasting more than 30 minutes after resting
  • Fatigue
  • Slight fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Where are Other Body Areas Affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation and disease in other areas of the body in about 40% of patients. You may be able to lower your risk of these problems by taking disease-modifying medications.

Some of the most common problems include:

  • Skin: small, firm lumps under your skin
  • Eyes: dry eyes and inflammation
  • Lungs: nodules, scarring, pleural disease
  • Heart: coronary artery disease, inflammation
  • Blood vessels: inflammation
  • Bones: osteoporosis

How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated?

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis focuses on relieving joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, preventing disease progression, and improving your ability to stay active.

Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following:

  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design an individualized exercise plan to keep you active and help with assistive devices that make it easier to perform daily tasks.
  • Medications and Injections: Joint injections with corticosteroids reduce inflammation and pain. Two groups of medications slow disease progression and protect your joints from damage: disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and biologic response modifiers.
  • Surgery: Several surgeries can repair damaged joints - 
    • Synovectomy: removes inflamed synovium (joint lining)
    • Tendon repair: repairs tendons damaged by inflammation
    • Joint fusion: stabilizes the joint
    • Total joint replacement: replaces damaged joint with prosthetic parts

Protect your joints by seeking medical care at the earliest signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Call Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists or book an appointment online.

What we offer

Rheumatology & Immunology Services