Rheumatology

At Westchester Health, our Rheumatology Department contains board trained and certified physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases of the joints, muscles and bones, including arthritis and autoimmune disorders.

Our rheumatologists have extensive experience in their field, using the latest technology and techniques to diagnose, treat and provide preventative care for all types of rheumatic diseases, including osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic back pain, tendonitis, bursitis, lupus, carpal tunnel syndrome and Lyme disease. These disorders can affect the joints, muscles and bones, causing pain, swelling, stiffness and deformity.

Prevention as well as treatment

At Westchester Health, our focus is not only on the evaluation and treatment of rheumatic diseases but also on preventative care. In addition to providing the highest quality of rheumatologic care, our rheumatologists work closely with your primary care provider and other specialists to implement a total treatment plan customized for your specific needs to achieve the best possible outcome. They also focus on educating you and your family about lifestyle changes you can make to control and improve your rheumatic or autoimmune disorder.

What makes Westchester Health’s Rheumatology Department different?

At Westchester Health, we firmly believe that good treatment starts with good listening. We also believe that the best patient is an informed patient, and that patient education is critical to your long-term health.

From the first time you arrive at our offices, we spend as much time with you and your family as is necessary to make sure you understand your condition, the diagnostic tests we are recommending and all of your treatment options. Throughout your journey with us, we will continue to explain our recommended course of treatment and answer any questions you may have so that you understand what to expect.

Whether you have been with Westchester Health for years or are new to our practice, you quickly recognize that our Rheumatology Department truly cares about each and every one of our patients. When you need us, we are here for you.

Always at the forefront of medicine

The world of medicine continues to change and evolve, especially regarding the treatment of diseases and disorders of the rheumatic system. As part of Northwell Health, our rheumatologists participate in its Department of Rheumatology training programs, making sure they are continually up-to-date on the newest breakthrough treatments for our patients’ musculoskeletal and systemic autoimmune conditions.

Pediatric Rheumatology

To provide the highest quality of care to children with rheumatologic disorders, we have a pediatric rheumatologist on staff who is specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases in children. This specialist works closely with your child’s pediatrician and other specialists to coordinate and implement the best treatment plan for your child’s individual needs. To learn more, visit our Pediatric Rheumatology page.

Rheumatologists are experts at treating a variety of disorders of the rheumatic system, including:

Bursitis

Bursitis is a painful condition that occurs when the bursae—the small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles in joints—become inflamed. The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip, but it can also affect the knee, heel and the big toe. Since bursitis often occurs near joints that perform repetitive motion, treatment typically involves resting the affected joint and protecting it from further trauma. In most cases, bursitis pain goes away within a few weeks with proper treatment, but recurrent flare-ups are common.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is basically a pinched nerve at the wrist and occurs when swelling from irritated tendons and nerves narrows the carpal tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed. Symptoms include pain, tingling or numbness in the hand, wrist or forearm; numbness or pain in the fingers; and loss of thumb function and hand dexterity. If diagnosed early, nonsurgical methods such as splinting the wrist and/or taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids can improve the condition. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Gout

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops in people with high levels of uric acid in their blood. This acid can form needle-like crystals in a joint and cause sudden, severe pain, tenderness, redness, heat and swelling. Gout is more common in men than women. Risk factors for developing gout include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, eating red meat and shellfish, drinking sugary soda, having more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day, taking diuretics, being obese and undergoing gastric bypass surgery. Treating gout typically entails medications and lifestyle changes.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by deer ticks, typically found in wooded and grassy areas. Not all ticks are infected, and only females can transmit Lyme. The disease affects people of all ages but is most common in children, older adults and people who spend time outdoors. Lyme disease can affect any organ of the body, including the brain, nervous system, muscles, joints and heart. Telltale symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a “bulls-eye” rash at the site of the bite. To rid the body of Lyme disease, strong antibiotics are required.

Lupus

Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. It can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus is a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly across both cheeks. Medications most commonly used to control lupus include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antimalarial drugs, corticosteroids and immunosuppressants.

Osteoarthritis/osteoporosis

The term “arthritis” describes 200 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround joints, and other connective tissue. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Similarly, osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. It affects men and women of all races but white and Asian women, especially over the age of 50, are at highest risk. Treatment for both conditions are specific to each person’s symptoms but typically include changes in diet, consuming more calcium, limiting alcohol consumption, stopping smoking and avoiding falls that can cause fractures.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder and occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body's tissues. It can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. It also affects the lining of your joints, causing painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity. While new types of medications have improved treatment options, severe rheumatoid arthritis can still cause physical disabilities.

 

To learn more, please read our blogs on these subjects.

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