Rheumatology – New Service Being Offered in the Near Future
Rheumatology is the branch of medicine that encompasses musculoskeletal disease as well as systemic autoimmune conditions. The most common conditions treated by Dr. Gartshteyn include:
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) occurs when the immune system causes the body to attack the joint’s lining. Symptoms include pain and swelling in multiple joints, joint stiffness in the morning, fatigue, and lumps called rheumatoid nodules.
Gout is an inflammatory arthritis that causes joint pain as a result of uric acid crystal disease; the first episodes of arthritis usually start in the big toe joints. Typical symptoms can include intense pain, swelling, redness, and heat. Gout flares can occur suddenly and last for days or weeks, followed by periods of remission. Joint damage occurs over time if left untreated.
Osteoarthritis affects the tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. It mostly occurs in older people, though anyone can be affected from a joint injury. Pain can be caused as a result of bone spurs that grow on the edges of joints, or fragments of bone and cartilage that break off and float within the joint space.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. It is also systemic and can affect other parts of the body such as the shoulders, ribs, hips, knees, and feet. In certain cases, AS can also affect the tendons and ligaments attach to bone; it can even affect the eyes, bowel, heart, and lungs. Symptoms involve redness, heat, swelling, stiffness, and pain in the spine or where pelvic bone joins at the bottom of the spine.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that affects the entire body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, and blood vessels. Although anyone can get lupus, women are at an increased risk. Symptoms may come and go, and they can differ for each person, but the most common include: recurrent rashes, pain or swelling in joints, hair loss, sensitivity to the sun, recurrent low grade fevers, chest pain when taking a deep breath, pale or purple fingers or toes, mouth ulcers, swollen glands, and fatigue.
Idiopathic Inflammatory Myositis (IIM) is a group of autoimmune conditions involving destruction of muscle fibers, resulting in gradual but progressive loss of strength and muscle tone. The heart and the lungs can be involved, and an early diagnosis is important to minimize long-term damage.
Vasculitis means inflammation of the blood vessels, and can affect any organ in the body. Suggestive symptoms include ongoing fevers, malaise, weight loss. In the older population, vasculitis can co-occur with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), an inflammatory condition that presents with shoulder and hip pain in the setting of elevated inflammatory markers detected on bloodwork.
Most rheumatic diseases are categorized as autoimmune conditions, suggesting an aberrant immune system response in which the immune cells become reactive against one’s own body. The specific cause is unknown and the pathogenic mechanisms vary between the disease, however a combination of genetics and environment is likely responsible. Pain is the readout of inflammation and is the most common symptoms for which patients with autoimmune diseases seek help. Other symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Fever and weight loss
Now at CORE Medical and Wellness, Dr. Gartshyen brings her knowledge and experience as an expert rheumatologist to carefully assess each individual patient’s medical history and symptoms. With a focus on reducing pain and minimizing joint damage, Dr. Gartshyen aims to improve or maintain physical function and quality of life for patients.