About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, autoimmune, inflammatory disease that can affect people of all ages. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the joints, resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling. Without proper treatment, chronic inflammation of these joints can result in permanent damage, deformity, and disability. In some severe cases, other areas of the body, such as the lungs, eyes, and skin, can be attacked as well.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Joints in the wrists, hands, and feet are most commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, but the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees may be involved as well.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include:
- Deformities and contractures of the joints
- Fatigue, loss of appetite, fevers, and/or weight loss
- Nodules/lumps below the skin —- particularly around the elbow
- Pain, swelling, warmth, and stiffness of joints, even when not in use
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis at UT Health Austin
The mainstay of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis is immunosuppressive therapy. These drugs modulate the immune system in a variety of ways to stop autoimmune attack on joints. Physical therapy and diet/exercise also can play important roles in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Our team is here to listen and work with you to develop a treatment plan that is both effective and tailored to your personal needs.
Care Team Approach
At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place to avoid having to schedule multiple appointments with providers at locations all over the city. The Rheumatology Clinic care team includes rheumatologists, physical therapists, dietitians, social workers, and more who work together to help you get back to the things in your life that matter most to you.
We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to identify new therapies to improve treatment outcomes. We are committed to communicating and coordinating your care with referring physicians and other partners in the community to ensure that we are providing you with comprehensive, whole-person care.