Treatment Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis
By Jeffrey Alper, M.D., PA
February 20, 2020
Category: Health Condition

Do you have rheumatoid arthritis? You are not alone. This inflammatory autoimmune condition affects millions of Americans. In Naples, Dr. Jeffrey Alper and Dr. Alain Alvarez are board-certified rheumatologists who diagnose and treat the many aspects of RA. Let them help you with the best treatment options optimized for function, pain relief, and overall well-being.

Symptoms of RA

Different from the wear and tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis impacts the hands and feet. It inflames the cells which line the joints, causing pain, limited mobility, bilateral and symmetrical swelling, fatigue, and joint deformities. Besides the physical problems, RA is known for increasing stress, malaise, and depression as symptoms worsen. RA is auto-immune, which means the body's very own immune defenses attack the joints. Talk to the Rheumatoid Arthritis Naples, FL, professionals right away if you experience any of these.

Do you have RA?

Consult with Dr. Alper or Dr. Alvarez about your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in their Naples office. If your symptoms persist for six weeks or longer, you likely have RA rather than another kind of arthritis or other joint issues. In addition, RA appears to run in families. So if you have a close relative, such as a mother or a sister with RA, you are more likely to share this diagnosis with them.

Blood testing usually reveals RF, the Rheumatoid Factor, along with other characteristic proteins and antibodies. Many RA patients are anemic as well. The Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network explains that the Rheumatoid Factor shows up in about 80 percent of RA patients.

Treatment options

Your care plan is personalized to your needs, overall health, and other important factors. However, most patients pursue similar goals, such as:

  • Limitation of joint damage
  • Maintenance of range-of-motion
  • Improving daily well-being and function
  • Reduction of pain and joint stiffness

As such, you likely will be prescribed some analgesics or NSAIDs to control pain and reduce inflammation. Oral corticosteroids are an option too, but they have unwanted side effects with long-term use. DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) limit the autoimmune response. Methotrexate and Gold compounds are the most common DMARDs.

In addition, biologic response modifiers, or biologics, block the body's T-cells which attack the joints. Humira is a well-known biologic. Talk to the Rheumatoid Arthritis Naples professionals about different medications. 

Besides medications, your physician will recommend a program of exercise and physical therapy that improves mobility and strength. Some patients pursue chiropractic care. Surgeries such as tendon repair or joint replacement are last resorts but help selected patients to move and stay active, states the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network.

For the best Rheumatoid Arthritis Naples treatment

Call Dr. Jeffrey Alper and Dr. Alain Alvarez. Their kindly, expert care will help you manage your rheumatoid arthritis so you live as well as possible. Contact us at our Naples or Bonita Springs locations. Call (239) 262-6550 today.