UT Health Austin clinics and services will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25. We will resume regular business hours on Monday, November 28. We wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday.

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. Joints in the wrists, hands, and feet are most commonly involved, but the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees may be affected as well. 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.

Common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Pain, swelling, warmth, and stiffness of joints, even when not in use
  • Deformities and contractures of the joints
  • Nodules/lumps below the skin —- particularly around the elbow
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite, fevers, and/or weight loss

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment 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

We have assembled a team of experts that includes rheumatologists, orthopedists, physiatrists, physical therapists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, dietitians, and social workers. This team enables us to provide the right care for the right patient at the right time. The goals of treatment of rheumatoid arthritis are twofold:

  • Improve joint pain, swelling, and stiffness to enable you to do the things you love to do.
  • Control inflammation such that permanent damage, deformity, and disability never occur.