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Autoimmune diseases affect 50 million Americans, per the AARDA (American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association). An autoimmune disease manifests itself when the body’s immune system, which defends against disease, reprograms itself to view the body’s healthy cells as foreign. As a result, your immune system turns against its healthy cells and attacks them. An autoimmune disease affects different types of body tissue. It can also give way to abnormal organ growth and fluctuations in organ function.
There are up to 80 different forms of autoimmune diseases. Most have very similar symptoms, which makes it very difficult to diagnose which specific type is affecting the body. It’s also common to have more than one at a time. Autoimmune diseases normally fluctuate between periods of remission and flare-ups. Since there isn’t a curative therapy available for autoimmune diseases, treatment is currently focused on alleviating symptoms and preventing further complications.
Autoimmune diseases are often genetically driven and run in families. 75% of people affected most commonly include women, according to AARDA. African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are found to have an increased risk level of developing an autoimmune disease.
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Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones in your body. It can cause the body to lose bone density, diminish bone development, or both. Osteoporosis will cause bones to become weak and brittle which increases the chances of broken bones resulting from falls. In more advanced cases, broken bones can even result from minor bumps or even sneezing.
Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” When viewed under a microscope, healthy bone can have a honeycomb design. When osteoporosis occurs in the skeletal system, the holes and crevices in the honeycomb become much larger than in healthy bones. Osteoporotic bones lose mass or density and contain abnormal tissue structure. As bones lose their density, they weaken and are more susceptible to breaks. If you are over 50 have broken a bone, ask your doctor or healthcare provider about testing your body's bone density.
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Arthritis is common but not as well understood as most would think. It is not a single type of disease, but rather, it’s a casual way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are over 100 different types of arthritis and joint related conditions that affect people of all ages, sexes and races and it is the leading cause of disability in the United States. More than 50 million adults and approximately 300,000 children have developed some form of arthritis. It occurs frequently as an individual gets older and most commonly among women.
Common symptoms of arthritis joint diseases include swelling, stiffness, pain and decreased ROM (range of motion). Symptoms can come and go; they can be mild, moderate or severe; symptoms can be mild for years and and then suddenly intensify and get worse over time. Severe arthritis can produce chronic pain, inability to complete simple daily tasks and make it challenging to even walk or go upstairs and can cause permanent joint variations. These changes can be noticeable and demonstrate visible signs such as knobby finger joints. Sometimes the joint damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some forms of arthritis can also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin, in addition to someone’s joints.
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There are a number of therapies and medications that may be prescribed to help you in managing your rheumatic disease. Of these, there are some that are more commonly prescribed than others. You should have a general understanding of how these medications work - their typical dosages, safety guidelines, potential side effects, and the associated risks - and our goal is to make that as simple as possible for you, ensuring optimal outcomes in your treatment journey.
Informed decision-making is crucial when it comes to managing your health. Understanding all the variables involved in adopting specific therapies is pivotal. Recognizing the significance of collaboration between patients and their healthcare providers, we've compiled a list of the most commonly prescribed medications in the treatment of rheumatic diseases. We encourage you to discuss your treatment options with Dr. Sandeep Gupta at Long Beach Rheumatology. Open communication with your healthcare provider will foster a strong partnership, enabling personalized treatment plans tailored to your unique health circumstances. Our commitment is to empower you with knowledge, ensuring that you are equipped to embark on a successful journey towards improved well-being and enhanced quality of life.