Arthritis

Arthritis can arise in many forms and can affect everyone – including children and adolescents. While the most commonly known form, osteoarthritis, is a degenerative disease that progresses as we age, many forms of inflammatory arthritis can affect people at any age. Inflammatory forms of arthritis, which include rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, and lupus are less frequent but more severe.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a form of inflammatory arthritis. This chronic, autoimmune disorder is the most debilitating form of arthritis and affects upwards of 1.2 million Americans. In RA the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues, specifically the synovial membrane, a thin membrane that lines the joints, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited joint mobility. The joints most commonly affected by RA are in the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees, shoulders, and elbows. Rheumatoid arthritis may also have damaging effects on organs, such as the heart and lungs.

The onset of RA typically begins between the ages of 30 and 60; however, RA can develop at any age. Seventy‐five percent of persons with rheumatoid arthritis are women.

Arthritis caused by inflammation often results in pain and stiffness after periods of inactivity, particularly in the morning. Swelling, redness and warmth may be present in the affected joints. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are apt to occur symmetrically, meaning the same joints are affected on both sides of the body simultaneously.

Although there is no known cure for RA, the aim of treatment is to diminish the patients’ symptoms and disability by introducing appropriate medical therapy as soon as possible before permanent joint damage occurs. Medical advances over the past decade have dramatically improved patient therapies. Current treatments offer most patients significant relief of symptoms and the ability to function at near normal levels.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Early symptoms include fatigue and weakness; low‐grade fever; malaise; loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Inflamed, painful joints
  • Enlarged and/or deformed jointed
  • Prolonged morning stiffness
  • Firm, painless bumps of tissue (rheumatoid nodules) under the skin of elbows, hands, knees or toes.
  • Dry mouth and dry eyes, associated with a secondary condition (Sjogren’s syndrome)
  • Limited range of motion in the affected joints.
  • Chest pain and difficulty breathing



HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

For general information or to schedule an appointment, call 212.305.4308. You may need a doctor's referral; please consult with your insurance provider prior to your appointment to ensure your visit will be covered under your policy.

Your appointment

  • To prepare for your appointment, make a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take. Include the dosage and frequency with which you take them. Please bring the list with you to your appointment.
  • First-time office consultations typically require an hour long appointment.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment for registration.
  • It is not necessary to fast for your first visit, unless you are instructed to do so by the doctor.
  • If you are not a current Columbia/NYP patient, please bring your outside medical records with you or ask your doctor to fax them to us at 212.342.6835.
  • A brief medication information form will need to be completed at each visit.
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