5 Common Conditions a Rheumatologist Treats in Los Angeles

The list of illnesses under the rheumatology umbrella extends beyond 100 conditions that affect the body’s musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, which includes the:

  • Bones
  • Joints
  • Muscles, ligaments, and tendons

Broken down further, Beverly Hills rheumatologists provide diagnosis and treatment for every variation of arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and a range of inflammatory conditions such as:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Sciatica
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Scleroderma
  • Vasculitis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lyme disease
  • Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

Top 5 Rheumatic and Autoimmune Disorders

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Commonly known as “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis results from the degeneration of the protective cartilage that surrounds the joints. Early osteoarthritis treatment is highly recommended to prevent further degeneration. It is generally most common in the knees and hips, but can technically affect any joint, including the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers. OA symptoms include :

  • Pain, tenderness, and stiffness around the affected joint, especially early in the morning after waking up, or when moving after long periods of rest
  • Grating sensation during movement
  • Stiffness and loss of mobility/range of motion

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

This form of arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which develops when the body’s immune system mistakenly triggers an attack response against healthy cells and tissue. Over time, RA can lead to permanent joint damage, resulting in chronic pain and problems with mobility. The most common RA symptoms are:
RA works by attacking the lining of the joints. The resulting inflammation leads to cartilage and joint damage. It most commonly affects the joints in the hands and feet, but can also affect other organs like the skin, eyes, lungs, and blood vessels. RA sufferers in Beverly Hills are also at an elevated risk for developing secondary conditions like osteoporosis (loss of bone mass), carpal tunnel syndrome, and cardiac and lung diseases.

  • Joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Nodules (bumps) underneath the skin

Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

Lupus is also an autoimmune disorder that results from a malfunctioning immune system that leads to healthy tissues being mistaken for foreign bodies, which triggers an immune response. Lupus is generally inherited through genetics, but this autoimmune disorder may sometimes develop in individuals without a genetic predisposition as a side effect of certain types of medications. The most common symptoms of lupus are:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Lesions on the skin (from direct contact with sunlight, also known as DLE – discoid lupus erythematosus)
  • Butterfly shaped face rash
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Poor blood circulation in the hands (causing white/blueish tinge)
  • Confusion and memory loss

Inflammatory Bowel Arthritis (IBA)

IBA encompasses the conditions known as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which result from inflammation in the digestive tract. IBA is another autoimmune disorder. In ulcerative colitis, the colon and small intestine are affected. Crohn’s disease can range to any part of the digestive tract. IBD-related arthritis tends to affect the knees, hips, elbows, wrists, and ankles.

Some general symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease are bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and cramping.

Crohn’s disease symptoms:

  • Joint and abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bloody stool
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Flatulence
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Loss of appetite

Ulcerative colitis symptoms:

  • Pain near joints
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Pain near rectum
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Leaking stool
  • Immediate and frequent need to defecate
  • Weight loss

Celiac Disease

People with celiac disease have trouble digesting gluten, which triggers an autoimmune response that leads to painful inflammation of the small intestine. The damage to the small intestine caused by gluten intolerance interferes with the regular absorption of nutrients, which can lead to malnutrition and other potentially serious complications if left untreated. Get in touch with a skilled rheumatologist for expert celiac disease treatment.

The main symptoms and side effects of celiac disease are:

  • Heartburn and acid reflux
  • Discomfort and stomach pain after meals
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Anemia/iron deficiency
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteomalacia
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis (skin rash)
  • Loss of tooth enamel
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain and swelling

Read more about celiac disease at ghr.nlm.nih.gov

Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Disorders

Some of the most common general symptoms of rheumatological and autoimmune disorders are:

  • Swelling, warmth, and tenderness in the joints
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain and inflammation

When Should You Schedule an Appointment to See an LA Rheumatologist?

Because there are so many different types of rheumatic conditions, with several categories of arthritis alone, symptoms can vary greatly from person to person depending on the condition and severity. Therefore, it’s crucial to schedule an appointment with a skilled rheumatologist to identify the disorder and begin treatment as soon as possible.

Top Rheumatic Disease Treatment in Beverly Hills

Dr. Susan Baker is a board certified rheumatologist and osteoarthritis specialist offering advanced diagnostic testing and personalized treatment options for the range of rheumatology symptoms and conditions. For more information or to get a second opinion, contact Dr. Baker’s office by calling (310) 274-7770 to schedule an appointment today.

Next, learn about the Conditions Treated by a Rheumatologist.

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The information available on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace a medical consultation where a physician's judgment may advise you about specific disorders, conditions and or treatment options. We hope the information will be useful for you to become more educated about your health care decisions.