If you are searching for “Conroe TX doctors who specialize in rheumatoid arthritis,” then contact Advanced Rheumatology of Houston today. Our sole rheumatologist, Dr. Brionez, has more than ten years of experience in the field. She has provided care for numerous patients with rheumatologic diseases.
Those who specialize in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are known as rheumatologists. These doctors study rheumatologic conditions such as RA and other diseases. Rheumatologic conditions are diseases that affect the connective tissue in the body. Joints, muscles, ligaments, organs, and bone are examples. In the case of RA, it primarily affects the joints.
Dr. Brionez is the perfect doctor for your RA needs. She first obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science at Texas A&M University. Then, she secured her Doctor of Medicine degree from the Baylor College of Medicine. Afterward, she completed her Fellowship in Rheumatology at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
In 2007, she became board-certified in internal medicine. Two years later, she achieved what she set out to be, a board-certified rheumatologist. Since 2009, she has diagnosed and treated arthritis, gout, lupus osteoporosis, ankylosing spondylitis, and more. Below, patients can see the full list of diseases she can diagnose and treat.
- Polymyalgia Rheumatica
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sjögren’s Syndrome
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus)
Rheumatoid Arthritis Details
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints in the body. Some organs, such as the skin, eyes, or lungs, may also be affected. Autoimmune diseases are when the immune system attacks healthy tissues in the body. Normally, the system attacks foreign pathogens in the body, such as viruses or infections. In the case of RA, the immune system recognizes joints as a treat and attack them. The cause of RA is unknown, but experts still know a lot about it.
Firstly, RA affects 1.3 million Americans, which makes it the most common autoimmune arthritis. Anyone is capable of developing the disease, but women between the ages of 30 and 50 are the most common. In fact, 75 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients are women.
Secondly, rheumatoid arthritis mainly affects the smaller joints in the body, such as those in the hands and feet. Early diagnosis is beneficial as it will help prevent further damage to the joints. The damage that is sustained is permanent, which is why early diagnoses is important. If you are experiencing symptoms of the disease, then see a doctor.
Finally, the common symptoms of RA include swelling, pain, and stiffness in the joints. Patients may also experience a lack of energy, loss of appetite, minor fever, dry eyes and mouth, or firm lumps under the skin. These lumps are known as rheumatoid nodules and often appear around the hands or elbows. Only about 25 percent of RA patients develop these nodules.
Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are a couple of ways for a rheumatologist to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. One way is through scans. Ultrasounds and x-rays are capable of detecting joint damage from the immune system. Since the damage is permanent, these scans should be able to pick up the changes. However, the best way for a diagnosis is through blood tests.
Blood tests will help find specific antibodies in the body that are related to the RA disease. About 60 to 70 percent of patients with RA have the antibodies present, so it is a relatively good indicator for diagnosis. For patients without the antibodies, other aspects of the blood can be looked at. Specific proteins, a lack of blood cells, and levels of inflammation are examples. For those that are tested for the antibodies, but do not have rheumatoid arthritis, it is known as a false positive.
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA has many different medical treatment options. Each case of RA is different from the last, so Dr. Brionz will tackle each case differently. There are many medications that can slow down joint damage and reduce symptoms. RA has no cure, so treatment is aimed at the symptoms. Swelling, pain, and stiffness of the joints are the main targets when it comes to medication.
In more serious cases, the patient requires biologic response modifiers that block the chemical signals of the immune system. This helps reduce inflammation in the affected joints. Of course, medication alone is not the best treatment option. Patients should also exercise regularly or have a physical therapist. These actions will help relieve patients of pain and stiffness. Additionally, improved muscle strength takes the weight off joints.
The contRAst Program
Even though there are many medications for RA, there are some patients who do not respond adequately to them. So, research studies test new treatment options in order to help current and future patients. In the case of the contRAst Program, they are testing a new drug that will slow the progress of joint damage. In doing so, the inflammation is reduced.
Advanced Rheumatology of Houston is happy to participate in this study alongside many other clinics in the United States. Participants are subject to free medication, free clinic visits, and potential assistance with travel. Participants will help test a new drug that could help many in the future.
If you are interested in what the contRAst Program is working toward, then find out more on our rheumatoid arthritis research page. Patients can find more details about the study in order to learn more. A link to see if patients qualify is also included on the website. Contact Advanced Rheumatology of Houston for any questions.
Conroe TX Doctors Who Specialize in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dr. Brionez has more than ten years of experience in the field of rheumatology. If you are experiencing symptoms of RA or you are interested in the contRAst Program, then contact us today by calling (281) 766-7886. Patients may also contact us via our online form. Visit our website for additional details about rheumatoid arthritis or the contRAst Program. Help us test a new drug that could help those who are suffering from RA. So, stop searching “Conroe TX doctors who specialize in rheumatoid arthritis” and start calling.
Fun Facts about Conroe
- Lake Conroe is 22,000 acres!
- Conroe was first settled in the early 1800s.
- The downtown business district of the city was developed in the 1890s.
- Find more fun facts about Conroe here.