Rheumatoid Arthritis

Tony Makhlouf, MD, FACR -  - Rheumatologist

Arthritis and Rheumatology Center

Tony Makhlouf, MD, FACR

Rheumatologist located in Simi Valley, CA

Almost 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, or RA. Luckily, rheumatologists like Tony Makhlouf, MD, FACR, at Arthritis and Rheumatology Center, are answering the call with advanced treatments to alleviate the pain and immobility that often accompany the disease. If you’re in Simi Valley, California, or the surrounding area, and you’re dealing with RA, call for more information. Or, use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Q & A

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disease that causes your body’s immune system to turn on its own host, in this case you, and attack your joints. Your joints are lined with tissue called synovium, which provides lubrication. With RA, your immune system mistakenly views this tissue as a threat and sets to work to get rid of the perceived menace. As a result, this tissue becomes inflamed, which leads to painful swelling in your joints.

Over time, RA slowly destroys your joints, including the bone, severely limiting your use of them and permanently deforming their underlying structures. If you’ve ever noticed someone with crooked fingers and bulbous joints, that’s usually caused by RA.

While RA is mostly associated with your joints, it casts a wide net over your body and can affect your:

  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Circulatory system
  • Bone marrow
  • Kidneys

What are the symptoms of RA?

The most obvious symptom of RA is inflamed and painful joints, which are accompanied by stiffness, especially when you first wake up.

You may also experience fever, fatigue, and weight loss, which are signs that your body’s immune system is in overdrive.

What causes RA?

Medical researchers are still unclear as to the cause of RA, but they have found a few factors that have an influence over your propensity to develop the disease, including:

  • Sex — women are more likely than men to develop RA.
  • Age — RA usually comes in between 40 and 60.
  • Heredity — if it runs in your family, you may be susceptible.
  • Obesity — weight issues increase your risk of developing RA.

How is RA diagnosed?

RA is a frustrating condition to deal with because there’s no single test that can determine its presence. Rather, Dr. Makhlouf looks for specific markers in your blood that indicate RA, as well as a thorough review of your symptoms. He may also turn to advanced imaging to take a look at what’s going on inside.

How is RA treated?

Dr. Makhlouf uses the latest techniques for fighting RA, including biologic response modifiers. These newer drugs take aim at your immune system to prevent the trigger that causes inflammation.

Dr. Makhlouf may use this therapy in combination with other medications to halt the progression of your RA and save your joints from permanent damage.

When it comes to RA, the sooner you seek treatment, the better. Call Arthritis and Rheumatology Center today for an appointment, or use the easy online booking tool to schedule your visit.