MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center physicians in rheumatology, immunology, and allergy boast a long tradition of exceptional patient care and research for allergic conditions, sensitive or malfunctioning immune systems, and health issues that affect the joints, muscles, and bones.
What Can a Rheumatologist Do?
Our doctors are experts at diagnosing and managing a broad spectrum of rheumatic diseases and provide comprehensive subspecialty services for patients with:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Inflammatory muscle disease
- Various forms of vasculitis
- Other forms of arthritis and autoimmune disorders
Immunology is the study of the body systems that defend us against microbial pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi, and many diseases occur when the immune system can’t do its job, or when it ignores those pathogens and attacks its own cells and tissues.
MedStar Southern Maryland’s immunology physicians are prepared to diagnose and treat disorders of the immune system, including hypersensitivities, immune deficiency, transplant rejection, and autoimmune illness.
Whether it’s itchy eyes and ears, a rash on your arm, or something a little less common, MedStar Southern Maryland’s experts in allergies can provide comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services for patients of all ages with:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Atopic dermatitis
Because the diseases our doctors treat are complex and can often affect multiple organ systems, our rheumatology, immunology, and allergy division works closely with other MedStar Health subspecialists. By collaborating with physical and occupational therapists and orthopedic surgeons, we provide expert consultation and state-of-the-art approaches to patient management and care.
Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disease affecting 2.1 million Americans, is an inflammation of the lining (synovium) of the joints that can lead to long-term damage and disability. The inflammation puts pressure on the surrounding tissues, which can produce chemicals that can ruin the joint surface. This, in turn, can cause deformities. Connective tissues that support internal organs are also susceptible to this form of arthritis. Currently, the cause of the disease is unknown, but it is known as the younger arthritis because it usually occurs in individuals aged 35 to 50.
Symptoms can include:
- Swelling of the joint
- Stiffness, particularly in the morning and when sitting for long periods of time
- Loss of appetite, weight loss
- Increasingly limited ability to perform daily activities, like combing hair, which may indicate damage to ligaments, bones, or cartilage