Winthrop's Rheumatoid Arthritis Center Offers Treatment, Relief From Chronic Pain of Joint Disease

Vol. 12, No. 3
December, 2002

  • A Vision Moves One Step Closer to Reality - Ground Breaks on Winthrop's New Heart Surgery Center and Pediatric Inpatient Center

  • Winthrop Ranked Among Best in New York State for Bypass Surgery

  • New, Dedicated Pediatric Emergency Unit Opens at Winthrop - Provides Specialized Care for Children's Unique Needs

  • Pediatric Asthma Parents Support Group - Try talking with others about Asthma�

  • Club W Reinvents the 1940's in All It's Glory at Winthrop's Annual Gala

  • Winthrop's Rheumatoid Arthritis Center Offers Treatment, Relief From Chronic Pain of Joint Disease

  • Winthrop Pediatric Opthalmologist Performs New, Successful Surgery on Patient with Rare Eye Disorder

  • From Hospital to Home, Winthrop Provides New Moms with Tools for Breastfeeding Success

  • Winthrop Named New York State Regional Perinatal Center - One of Only 18 Centers in all of New York State to Receive Prestigious Designation

  • Winthrop Receives Department Of Education Statewide Award For Employment Of People With Disabilities

  • Winthrop's New Website - Goes Live!

  • 'Celebrate America Fun-Fest- Benefits Winthrop's Cancer Center For Kids - Governor George Pataki, Senator Michael Balboni, Olympic Gold Medallist Sarah Hughes, Make Special Guest Appearances

  • Golfers Tee Off to Benefit Withrop's Institute for Heart Care at 17th Annual Golf Tournament

  • Assemblywoman Maureen O-Connell 'Reaches Out and Reads' to Local Children at Winthrop Pediatrics

  • Judging a Book by its Cover - All 3,000 of Them

  • Winthrop's Cancer Program Approved by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons

  • Vascular Laboratory at Winthrop Achieves ICAVL Reaccredidation

  • 'Tis the Season for Giving

  • Senator Michael A.L. Balboni Sponsors $200,000 Bioterrorism Grant for Winthrop

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  • Po you ache when it rains? Are your joints constantly stiff or painful when you wake up in the morning? These may be more than signs of aging, they may be symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis, a joint disease that causes the body's immune system to attack joint tissues, resulting in inflammation and pain.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) affects nearly two percent of the country's population with the disease growing in prevalence, especially as the population lives longer. Winthrop's Rheumatoid Arthritis Center was specially created to address the unique health needs of patients living with joint disorders.

    Dr. Steven Carsons, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at Winthrop, explained that over the past 10 years, Rheumatoid Arthritis has been recognized as a significant health problem.

    "The disease, which is more common among women between the ages of 30-50 years, is the leading cause of joint deformity and pain, restricting daily activities for many patients," stated Dr. Carsons. "We are also seeing that about half of the RA patients at Winthrop have developed the disorder after the age of 60, prompting us to study this growing incidence."

    People who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis are plagued with inflammation of the joints caused by the body's own attack on joint tissues. This results in pain and swelling in the most commonly affected parts of the body such as the hands, wrists, ankles, feet and elbows. Inflammation can also cause low-grade fevers, loss of appetite and weight loss.

    The Rheumatoid Arthritis Center at Winthrop focuses on the early diagnosis and treatment of the disease, the best defense for slowing the progression of the disorder and limiting damage to the joints. The Center provides diagnostic evaluations of patients suspected of having rheumatic disorders, provides patients with education and information through free community lectures and nursing education, offers the latest in drug and biologic therapy and is involved in a number of important clinical trials of new agents to treat RA. Virginia Schneider of Baldwin has suffered from the disabling effects of RA for 10 years. Pain and swelling in her shoulders and knees disabled Ms. Schneider for years. Her RA became so bad that she had to stop working altogether in 1998.

    Virginia Schneider (right) receives her treatment at Winthrop's Rheumatoid Arthritis Center from Patty Leary, RN (left).

    After years of different treatments and medications, Dr. Carsons approached Ms. Schneider about a clinical study being conducted at Winthrop's RA Center for the drug, Remicade. Given by I.V. infusion every eight weeks, Remicade had a profound effect on Ms. Schneider's quality of life.

    "Since day one, the treatment Dr. Carsons introduced me to has worked better than any other medication I have taken for my arthritis," exclaimed Ms. Schneider, who continued on the regimen well after the clinical study had been completed.

    "I feel better now than ever before," she added. "I was virtually disabled for two years with my rheumatoid arthritis, but thanks to the wonderful treatment I receive here at Winthrop, my lifestyle has greatly improved." Hope on the Horizon Dr. Carsons said that there have been a number of significant advances over the past five years in the treatment and management of the disease.

    "Treatment options are greater than ever before," he stated. "We are seeing a new generation of anti-inflammatories (i.e. Cox 2 inhibitors like Vioxx and Celebrex) which are making drug therapies more effective and safer. In addition, oral medications are faster acting. Biological agents have also become increasingly popular, replacing the traditional chemical drug therapy."

    The Winthrop Rheumatoid Arthritis Center offers patients a multi-disciplinary approach to wellness, combining traditional arthritis therapy with physical therapy for specialized exercises, and the referral to Winthrop's Pain Management Center when needed. The Center also works closely with Winthrop's Orthopedic Department for joint reconstruction in cases of severe RA and difficulties with normal joint function.

    While the cause of RA is still unknown and no cure currently exists, doctors and researchers continue on the path to unlocking the mystery. Until then, patients can rest easier knowing that Winthrop's comprehensive Rheumatoid Arthritis Center and its resources are only a phone call away.

    For more information on Winthrop's Rheumatoid Arthritis Center, call 516-663-2097 or 866-WINTHROP.

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