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Medical doctors discusses with patient rheumatoid disease

Rheumatology

ColumbiaDoctors rheumatologists provide the highest level of care in all areas of autoimmune rheumatic diseases, improving the lives of patients who have arthritis and other systemic autoimmune conditions. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for the thousands of patients who come to ColumbiaDoctors Rheumatology Center. Our specialists are highly trained and board certified in Rheumatology. We are a recognized leader in rheumatology research, conducting studies and clinical trials aimed at better understanding the mechanisms behind and treatment of joint and inflammatory disorders.

Patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases seek out ColumbiaDoctors rheumatologists for the latest, most innovative treatments backed by academic research. Our physicians are all affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian, routinely ranked among the best hospitals in the nation, and have access to top physicians in every discipline.

In the United States, autoimmune rheumatic diseases affect the lives of more than 40 million people with arthritis being the most prevalent. Autoimmune illnesses are those in which the body attacks itself, producing antibodies against one’s own tissues and leading to intense inflammation and damage within tissues and multiple organs. This inflammation may manifest in many ways such as arthritis, blurry vision, kidney failure, muscle weakness, rashes, shortness of breath and even heart attacks.

ColumbiaDoctors Rheumatology provides the highest level of care and the best treatments possible in all areas of autoimmune rheumatic diseases based on the latest advances in the field. Depending on the organ systems involved with an individual autoimmune disease, we coordinate care with other subspecialists including orthopedists, cardiologists, nephrologists, and obstetrician/gynecologists, all working in concert to provide excellent patient care. The rheumatologists at ColumbiaDoctors are best in class in the areas of patient care, and basic and clinical research focused on finding the cures and causes of arthritis and other autoimmune disorders as well as medical education. As physicians affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the foremost academic medical centers in the world, our doctors bring knowledgeable and experienced medical care to each doctor‐patient exchange.

Our areas of focus include:

Inflammatory Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Ankylosing Spondylitis are the inflammatory forms of arthritis which are often far more debilitating but less common than osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease. Although there is no known cure, ColumbiaDoctors rheumatologists aim to introduce appropriate medical therapies before permanent joint damage occurs, thus diminishing symptoms and disability. The CUMC/NYP’s dedicated Inflammatory Arthritis Center consists of three rheumatologists who are experts in these illnesses. Phenomenal medical advances in therapies for inflammatory arthritis over the past decade have dramatically improved the lives of patients with these conditions, to the point that they now function at or near normal levels.

Vasculitis

The immune system attacks the blood vessels causing inflammation within the body’s tissues, where the disruption in blood flow can organ damage. ColumbiaDoctors are committed to integrated care for each patient such as seeing multiple specialists with expertise in organ systems that are or may become affected. ColumbiaDoctors have expertise in treating polyarteritis nodosa, a form of vasculitis in which small and medium‐sized arteries become swollen and damaged, and Wegener’s granulomatosis, a rare form of vasculitis of the respiratory tract and kidneys, giant cell arteritis and other forms of vasculitis.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Degenerative joint disease is the most common form of arthritis, although non-inflammatory and non-autoimmune, and affects almost 30 million Americans. OA is a gradual age-related condition in which the cartilage within the joints is worn down, causing pain and sometimes deformity. Though there is no cure for OA, ColumbiaDoctors can administer anti-inflammatory medications and work with a team of specialists including orthopedists, should joint replacement become necessary.

Gout

One of the most painful forms of arthritis is characterized by severe pain and inflammation in the joints, typically first affecting the base of the big toe. Gout is preventable with treatment, but treatment may be complicated by co‐existing medical conditions such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Expert specialists at ColumbiaDoctors Rheumatology evaluate patients to determine if gout is the cause of their arthritis, educate them about treatment measures, and provide a multidisciplinary approach to patient care.

Systemic Lupus

Erythematosus (SLE) Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by periodic episodes of inflammation of and damage to joints, tendons, andorgans, including the heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain, kidneys, and skin. Ninety percent of patients are women of child-bearing age. The dedicated Lupus Center at CUMC/NYP is staffed by three rheumatologists and a nurse practitioner , all experts in SLE, work with patients to devise a treatment plan to rapidly limit the progression of the disease while lessening the severity of episodes.

Scleroderma

An autoimmune rheumatic disease of the connective tissue featuring skin thickening, blood vessel disease, and sometimes lung and kidney involvement. In scleroderma, the immune system stimulates cells to produce too much collagen which leads to thickness and scarring of the involved areas. While the localized variety of scleroderma sometimes resolves on its own, depending on which organ systems are involved, ColumbiaDoctors treat more generalized scleroderma with a variety of medications to help control the symptoms and prevent or minimize complications. Our newly formed Scleroderma Program is headed by one of our faculty with extensive clinical and research expertise in this family of illnesses.

Sjogren’s Syndrome

Targeting the moisture producing glands of the eyes and mouth, Sjogren's is a lifelong condition, potentially causing complications throughout the entire body. It is one of the most prevalent of autoimmune diseases with over four million Americans living with the disease, 90% of whom are women. In some instances, Sjögren’s syndrome is systemic, affecting organs other than the glands and requiring treatment to prevent complications and improve quality of life.

Myositis

Though a rare disease, all forms of myositis involve persistent muscle inflammation, resulting in muscle weakness and occasionally pain in the muscles. Polymyositis inflames and weakens muscles in many parts of the body, particularly those closest to the torso and Dermamyositis affects both muscle fibers and skin. Inflammatory myositis requires immunosuppressive drugs to suppress the autoimmune features and restore strength. ColumbiaDoctors work with patients to tailor the treatment to their individual needs.

Pediatric/Adolescent Rheumatology 

Children with childhood onset rheumatic diseases may also be seen in our Center. These conditions include juvenile onset arthritis, childhood onset lupus, myositis and vasculitis, as well as the so-called Autoinflammatory Diseases. Our pediatric rheumatologist and pediatric nurse practitioner work closely with parents and teachers to make the child’s experience with her/his illness and treatment as pleasant and manageable as possible, with the primary goal to return the child to full capacity as quickly as possible. We have a particular interest in facilitating the transition of adolescents with rheumatic diseases from pediatric to adult care.

We see patients at the ColumbiaDoctors Rheumatology at Herbert Irving Pavilion 161 Fort Washington Avenue as well as at the Associates in Internal Medicine 1051 St. Nicholas Avenue Between 167th & 168th. ColumbiaDoctors Midtown 51st and ColumbiaDoctors Riverdale. Our pediatric rheumatologist also sees patients at several locations in the New York City area.