Are you searching, “The Woodlands TX doctors who specialize in rheumatoid arthritis?” Advanced Rheumatology of Houston is happy to have a doctor who specializes in rheumatoid arthritis and many other diseases. Dr. Brionez has more than ten years of experience in the field of rheumatology. For this reason, she is a great option when it comes to diagnosing and treating arthritis.
Rheumatologist diagnose and treat rheumatologic diseases. These diseases are known to affect connective tissues in the body, such as joints, muscles, ligaments, organs, and bone. Dr. Brionez has more than a decade of handling these illnesses, which makes her an experienced rheumatologist.
Dr. Brionez started her career by graduating from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences. From there, she attended Baylor College of Medicine and completed her Doctor of Medicine. Afterward, she finished her Fellowship in Rheumatology at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
In 2007, Dr. Brionez became board-certified in internal medicine. Two years later, she reached the goal she set out to do. Dr. Brionez became a board-certified rheumatologist in 2009 and has been in practice since then. She has helped numerous patients with various rheumatologic conditions, and rheumatoid arthritis is just a fraction of what she can help with. Patients can see the full list of illnesses Dr. Brionez can diagnose and treat below.
- Polymyalgia Rheumatica
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sjögren’s Syndrome
- Spondyloarthritis (ankylosing spondylitis, etc.)
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus)
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is also commonly referred to as RA. It is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints. Normally, an immune system attacks foreign pathogens in the body, such as viruses or infections. However, an autoimmune disease attacks healthy tissues in the body because it believes them to be a threat. There is no known cause for this disease, but experts do not a lot about it.
Firstly, RA affects 1.3 million Americans. Women between the ages of 30 and 50 are the most affected by the disease. In fact, 75 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients are women. Regardless of these statistics, anyone is capable of developing the disease. It may also start at any age.
Secondly, rheumatoid arthritis affects the smaller joints in the body than others. So, the hands and feet are common areas in which patients may experience symptoms. In some cases, RA affects certain organs like the eyes, skin, and lungs.
Finally, the symptoms of RA are easily identifiable. Patients may experience pain, stiffness, or swelling in the joints. Again, the hands and feet are the most common joints affected. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, a lack of energy, minor fevers, dry eyes and mouth, and firm lumps near the hands or elbows. These lumps are known as rheumatoid nodules, and only about 25 percent of patients develop them.
Diagnosing and Treating RA
Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed primarily through blood tests, but scans can also be used. Ultrasounds and x-rays may be used to examine the condition of the joints. It is important to note that an early diagnosis of the disease is beneficial. Rheumatoid arthritis causes permanent damage to the joints. Research also shows patients with an earlier diagnosis have more comfortable lives.
When it comes to a blood test, doctors are looking for the presence of specific antibodies associated with rheumatoid arthritis. These antibodies appear in about 60 to 70 percent of RA patients. If they do not appear, then blood tests can detect other attributes such as specific proteins, a lack of red blood cells, and levels of inflammation. For those that do have the antibody and not the disease are considered false positives.
When it comes to treatment options, there are several medications that can help patients. Unfortunately, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. Instead, treatment focuses on reducing swelling, pain, and stiffness in joints. In more serious cases, treatment must be used to suppress the immune system’s attacks.
Medication offers comfort for many RA patients. With that said, patients typically live relatively normal and pain-free lives. Each case of RA is different from the last, so Dr. Brionez will treat every patient differently. Some medications reduce the symptoms while some prevent further joint damage. In the case of suppressing the immune system, patients will take biologic response modifiers.
Even with so many medication options, they work best with exercise or therapy. Patients should walk regularly and perform exercises that will boost muscle strength. This will lead to less stress on the joints. Exercise also helps improve the feeling of joints naturally.
The contRAst Program
The plethora of treatment options is beneficial for RA patients, but some do not respond to treatment. With that said, there are research studies paving the way toward new medications that could help those not responding to treatment. The contRAst Program is one of those studies, and Advanced Rheumatology of Houston is happy to participate. The contRAst Program is testing an investigational drug that will help slow the progression of RA.
Advanced Rheumatology of Houston is looking for RA patients to participate in this study. It would help current and future rheumatoid arthritis patients with their condition. The contRAst Program is split into three groups, and participants must be at least 18 years old. There are additional criteria that need to be met. Patients can find more information about the study on our rheumatoid arthritis research page. There is a way you can help patients moving forward.
The Woodlands TX Doctors Who Specialize in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Advanced Rheumatology of Houston provides experienced, professional, and friendly care when it comes to diagnosing and treating patients. Dr. Brionez cares about each of her patients will offer her the best medical advice. Patients can schedule an appointment or ask us about the contRAst Program by calling (281) 766-7886.
Patients may also contact us online via the online form. Regardless, they will get the same great care. Rheumatoid arthritis does not have to be a debilitating disease. Instead, schedule a meeting with a doctor to start feeling better. Stop searching “The Woodlands TX doctors who specialize in rheumatoid arthritis” and start calling today!
Fun Facts about The Woodlands
- Creekside is one of nine villages that make up the Woodlands Township.
- Woodlands High School is the largest high school in the state! Woodlands High School is one of the top high schools in the country!
- Creekside is considered a commuter town, but there are a lot of nice recreational activities here!
- Find more fun facts about The Woodlands here.