arthritis
osteoporosis
rhematic diseases

OUR SERVICES

The services of Arthritis Associates are specialized and are available by physician referral only. If you feel you are in need of these services, please consult with your physician or contact our office for assistance with the referral process.

Areas of specialization include:

  • Arthritis - Over 120 diseases which affect the joint are commonly referred to as arthritis. While the causes may vary, all result in symptoms which affect the joint. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis. gout and fibromyalgia are the most common forms.

  • Osteoporosis - One of the more common conditions we treat, osteoporosis is a disease that gradually weakens bones, causing them to become brittle and prone to fractures. Osteoporosis and its associated fractures can rob you of your mobility and independence. We have developed a program of testing, diagnosis and treatment for osteoporosis called OsteoCare. 

  • Other Rheumatic diseases - From Ankylosing Spondylitis to Bone Spurs, gout and fibromyalgia are the most common forms with a range of other rheumatic diseases is extensive.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease, often chronic, that adversely affects joints and, sometimes, other parts of the body. RA is an autoimmune disorder, meaning the immune system, the body's defense against foreign bacteria and viruses, attacks healthy tissue for unknown reasons. In the case of RA, it attacks structures related to the mechanism of joints - usually cartilage or a lining of tissue in the joint known as synovium.

Unlike other forms of arthritis, RA seems to affect the body in a symmetrical fashion. If one extremity joint is affected - such as the wrist or knee - the companion joint will also usually be affected. It can affect other parts of the body besides joints, including the heart, lungs and blood vessels.

Patients with RA usually have painful, swollen and inflamed joints that are tender to the touch. Pain and stiffness is especially acute in the morning or after a prolonged rest. Patients can also feel a general sense of malaise and fatigue, and will occasionally run a fever.

These symptoms are not always universal or constant. Some patients with RA may experience just a few of these symptoms, and for a short period of time, sometimes only a few months. Others, with more severe forms of the disease, may experience symptoms constantly for a lifetime and suffer from significant joint damage.

The disease is also prone to what doctors call "flaring." The disease may occur mildly in some people for a period of time, then "flare" up with a period of worsening symptoms, that may later abate into a period of remission.

What causes RA? Researchers don't know exactly, but they have detected some similarities in RA patients. For example, researchers have discovered some genes related to the immune system aren't present in many people with RA.

Although the absence of these genes isn't a universal finding, many scientists believe it may be one of a series of factors involved in the disease. Some believe that people with a genetic disposition toward RA encounter an environmental trigger, like a bacterial infection, that initiates the autoimmune reaction. Some speculate that hormones may also play a role in the development of the disease.



Common Treatments:
 


There are several treatment options and approaches for RA, depending on symptoms and severity. Rheumatologists, physicians that specialize in arthritic or rheumatic conditions, work with RA patients to develop a tailored plan that reduces pain and inflammation, stops or impedes joint damage and improves their quality of life.

For most patients, the presence of RA calls for comprehensive changes in behavior and lifestyle. Rest, exercise, joint care and a healthy diet all play a vital role in alleviating the effects and damage of the disease. Even a change of scenery may be a part of the plan - some patients are less affected by RA in milder climates.

Medication also plays a significant role in most treatment strategies. Physicians typically prescribe anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that retard the course of the disease. They may also prescribe powerful, prescription-based pain relievers, even early in the treatment of RA. Studies have shown that taking an aggressive approach at the onset of the disease may reduce future joint damage.

Sometimes surgery is a viable treatment option, though certainly not for every RA patient. Surgical options include replacement of a damaged joint, the removal of affected synovial tissue, or reconstruction of damaged tendons.

 

Lupus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), known more commonly as lupus, is an autoimmune disease in which an individual's immune system attacks the body's own cells and tissues. Although its exact causes are not known, most researchers believe heredity may be a factor. Although the disease affects members of both genders, nine out of ten lupus patients are women.

This chronic condition causes severe inflammation in numerous parts of the body, including joints, muscles and internal organs like the heart, lung and kidneys. Patients may experience a variety of symptoms that differ from person to person. It is often called "the great imitator" because it resembles so many other conditions.

The inflammation caused by lupus usually results in pain, heat, redness and swelling. Although the condition is chronic, most patients do not experience the symptoms continually. They may lie dormant for a time, and then exhibit themselves suddenly in what physicians call a "flare." Even if a patient remains free of symptoms for an extended period, it does not mean they are free of the disease.


Common Treatments:

Treatment for lupus is a lifelong strategy. Physicians usually prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anti-malarial drugs, corticosteroids and immunosuppressants to help control the pain and inflammation.

They also recommend a regimen of exercise, dietary changes and plenty of rest. Because sunlight seems to be an aggravating factor in the disease, they also recommend limiting exposure to the sun and using skin protection.

Testing, Diagnosis and Treatment
 

Arthritis Associates offers radiology services such as diagnostic x-rays and DEXA scans, better known as bone density testing. We offer radiographic imaging on site using up-to-date digital x-ray equipment and a table that lowers and raises electronically for the safety and convenience of the patient. An array of spine and joint images are offered to assist in the diagnosis of rheumatology related issues. DEXA scans are also performed in the office using Hologic scanning technology. Each patient is personally interviewed prior to their scan to determine risk factors, as well as educated on calcium dosages and other preventive measures. The scan is quick, easy, and painless. It is also the only means by which bone strength can accurately be measured and osteoporosis can be diagnosed. Dr. Weiss writes a report on each scan and the patient is then prompted toward the appropriate treatment if needed. Our patients truly receive the total package when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, known as "the silent killer."

 

Clinical Trials:

Dr. Weiss participates in Clinical Trials for a wide variety of diseases related to rheumatology:

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lupus

Osteoporosis

Osteoarthritis

Psoriatic Arthritis

Sjogrens

Raynauds

Dr. Weiss’ participation in these studies help in the pioneering of new medication to treat the above diseases.

 
 
 

7100 Hwy 98, Suite 220
Hattiesburg, MS 39402

 

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