My Blog

Posts for category: Health Condition

By Jeffrey Alper, M.D., PA
August 12, 2019
Category: Health Condition
Tags: Arthritis  

Chronic pain from arthritis. You live with it, along with the dysfunction it can cause. Fortunately, board-certified rheumatologist Dr. Jeffrey Alper and Dr. Alain Alvarez, offer hope to their Naples area patients with proven plans to manage arthritis pain. The goal is your fullest life possible.

What causes arthritis pain?

Inflammation, wear and tear or a disease process breaks down connective tissue. These are the causes of arthritis pain. Typically, these factors originate in the aging process, heredity, injury (either repetitive or impact), and continual stress and overworking of muscle groups.

Plus, your body type and lifestyle choices degrade joints and change your level of pain. If you are overweight, tend to be sedentary or smoke, you likely will suffer more intense and widespread arthritis pain.

Getting help for your arthritis pain in Naples

Both Dr. Alper and Dr. Alvarez are board-certified rheumatologists, experts in the pathophysiology and management of arthritis. Despite its tremendous advancement and spotlight position in health news, joint replacement is not the first line of defense against the stiffness, redness, tenderness, and limited mobility associated with arthritis. Instead, these expert physicians offer less invasive, but effective, interventions.

When you come to the office for an evaluation, your rheumatologist will review your health history, medications and any recent diagnostic tests. Also, he'll discuss your symptoms. From there, he may order lab work or other tests to understand your arthritis pain and its triggers.

The care plan

It's as individualized as you and your arthritis are. It may include a combination of treatments such as:

  • NSAIDS (anti-inflammatory medications in pill form)
  • Lidocaine injections directed into inflamed muscle bundles (trigger points)
  • Physical therapy and a program of daily stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Application of cold to reduce swelling
  • Application of heat (especially hot showers or baths) to increase circulation
  • Braces and orthoses (shoe inserts to modify gait and cushion and protect the feet)
  • Corticosteroid injections to decrease swelling

Manage it and live well

Together you and your Naples, FL, rheumatologist can manage your arthritis pain and increase your overall well-being. For more information on arthritis or to arrange a consultation with Dr. Alper or Dr. Alvarez, please call the office at (239) 262-6550.

By Jeffrey Alper, M.D., PA
June 18, 2019
Category: Health Condition

Are you familiar with all of the symptoms rheumatoid arthritis can cause? Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can affect nearly everyArthritis part of your body, causing pain, general discomfort, fatigue, and more. Fortunately, your Naples, FL, rheumatologists, Drs. Jeffrey Alper and Alain Alvarez, offer treatments that can help relieve your arthritis pain.

 

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects three times as many women as men, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Your body's immune system keeps you healthy by attacking bacteria and viruses as soon as they enter your body. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system mistakenly targets perfectly harmless cells, causing inflammation in your joints and throughout your body.

 

What parts of the body are affected by rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis may affect any joint but typically affects joints in your ankles, knees, hands, feet, elbows, and wrists. Chronic inflammation from the condition destroys cartilage, the flexible tissue that cushions the ends of your bones and helps the joints move smoothly. When the cartilage wears away, your bones rub together painfully.

The disease can also affect the lungs, eyes, mouth, blood, skin, and blood vessels.

 

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiff or swollen joints
  • Pain, swelling, or stiffness in several joints
  • Noticeably deformed joints
  • Dry mouth
  • Gum disease
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dry eyes and other eye symptoms, including light sensitivity, pain, and red eyes
  • Nodules (small lumps) over joints
  • Lung inflammation
  • Inflamed blood vessels
  • Nerve damage

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may experience flare-ups of acute symptom activity followed by periods of remission. Lung inflammation, nerve damage, and other symptoms may only occur if you have high levels of inflammation for a long time.

 

How can my Naples rheumatologist help me?

Controlling inflammation is the goal of rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Both over-the-counter and prescription anti-inflammatory medications (like ibuprofen) can reduce pain and inflammation.

Depending on the severity of the disease, you may also benefit from corticosteroid medication to reduce inflammation or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDS) that slow the progression of the disease. Joint replacement surgery may be recommended if joint damage significantly affects your mobility or interferes with your life.

 

Give us a call!

Don't let arthritis pain take over your life. Call your Naples, FL, rheumatologists, Drs. Jeffrey Alper and Alain Alvarez, at (239) 262-6550 to schedule an appointment.

By Jeffrey Alper, M.D., PA
March 11, 2019
Category: Health Condition
Tags: Arthritis  

Don’t let arthritis pain dictate how you live your life.

Are you dealing with swollen, painful joints, particularly in the hands or wrists? If so, this could be caused by an autoimmune disorder arthritis known as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This chronic condition results in swelling, pain, and warmth in certain joints of the body. Since arthritis is progressive, it is important that you turn to a rheumatologist in Naples, FL, such as our own doctors, Jeffrey Alper and Alain Alvarez, who both have helped countless individuals improve their quality of life by reducing joint pain and inflammation.

 

What is a rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating arthritis and other problems that affect the connective tissues, bones, and muscles of the body. The rheumatology specialists at our Naples office also focus on making sure all of these parts function together as a whole.

While you may turn to your regular doctor when first experiencing symptoms of RA, you will want to turn to a rheumatologist since this specialty doctor will have the proper expertise and education to be able to diagnose and create an effective treatment plan for you.

 

What should I expect when I come into your office?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a test that will be able to definitively pinpoint whether or not you have RA; therefore, your diagnosis will be based on several different elements such as,

  • Your symptoms
  • Your medical history
  • Your family’s medical history
  • A physical examination

Sometimes blood or imaging tests are performed to look for signs of RA such as joint inflammation.

 

How is RA treated?

It’s important to understand that there is currently no cure for RA, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t slow or even stop the disorder’s progress through medications and lifestyle modifications. Common medications include,

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Steroids
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs
  • Biologics (that affect the immune system)

Other treatments include physical therapy, lifestyle changes such as eating healthier and exercising regularly, as well as surgery to repair joint damage.

 

Need Help? Give us a Call!

If you are having trouble getting your arthritis symptoms under control then call our Naples, FL, rheumatology office at (239) 262-6550 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Alper or Dr. Alvarez. Pain should not become the norm; we can help you find the treatment plan that’s right for you.