Rheumatoid Arthritis Specialist

Jeffrey Miller, MD -  - Rheumatology Specialist

Osteoporosis and Rheumatology Center of Tampa Bay

Jeffrey Miller, MD

Rheumatology Specialist & Internal Medicine Specialist located in Tampa, FL

Did you know that as many as 1.3 million Americans are living with rheumatoid arthritis? For those in and around Tampa, Florida, the care of Jeffrey Miller, MD, at Osteoporosis and Rheumatology Center of Tampa Bay can make a world of difference in managing symptoms and improving quality of life. Don’t let your symptoms linger without seeking a proper diagnosis. Call the office or spend a few moments online to set up a visit with Dr. Miller today.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Q&A

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disease. It occurs when your immune system mistakes healthy tissues for potential threats and launches an attack. 

The condition can cause pain and other problems in your joints, including your knees, ankles, feet, elbows, wrists, and hands. Rheumatoid arthritis can also hinder various organs and systems, including your respiratory and cardiovascular functions. 

How do I know if I have rheumatoid arthritis?

Knowing what to look for can help you decide when it’s time to seek medical care for your symptoms. Some signs of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Joint deformity
  • Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • General malaise
  • Loss of joint function or mobility

Symptoms often come and go, which leads many to assume their joint pain was due to overtaxing the joint or caused by a simple cold or flu. 

Because rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease, reaching a proper diagnosis can be challenging. Working with an experienced specialist like Dr. Miller is a good way to determine the cause of your symptoms quickly and accurately. 

There is no single test for rheumatoid arthritis. Bloodwork can reveal some clues, and an in-depth discussion of your symptoms provides other pieces of the puzzle. X-ray imaging can be helpful, but it’s often unable to detect evidence of rheumatoid arthritis in the early stages. 

How is rheumatoid arthritis treated?

Treatment focuses on minimizing your symptoms and improving joint function. While rheumatoid arthritis was once among the most dreaded forms of disease, advancements in treatment technologies have led to impressive improvements in care. 

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are a good place to start, and work to slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis while also improving some symptoms. Advanced rheumatoid arthritis may respond better to drugs known as biologic response modifiers. Some of the drugs that might shape your treatment path include:

  • Sulfasalazine
  • Methotrexate
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Leflunomide
  • Minocycline
  • Azathioprine
  • Cyclosporine
  • Abatacept
  • Certolizumab pegol
  • Infliximab
  • Tocilizumab

These are just some of the medications that can form your drug therapy plan. It could take a period of trial and error to find the right mix. Additional treatments include physical therapy, counseling, occupational therapy, or even surgery. 

If you’d like to explore these and other treatment options in more detail, call the office or visit the online booking page today.