Patient Articles

Information for Rheumatology Patients

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is an infection caused by a spirochete bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) transmitted by a deer tick bite.  When the deer tick attaches to a person, the infection may occur.  The duration of attachment of the tick (> 48 hours) increases the likelihood of getting the infection.  It has been reported in 48 states (not in Hawaii or Alaska), but is most common in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Northern California, and north central USA.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) causes ongoing (chronic) inflammation in your spinal column and sacroiliac joints.

Biologic Medications

Biologic medications are also called biologics. Biologics are a new class of medication for people with rheumatic diseases.


Corticosteroids are also called steroids. Steroids are a group of medications that are very similar to cortisol.


Fibromyalgia or fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) causes ongoing (chronic) fatigue and pain in all parts of the body.


Gout is a form of arthritis caused by deposits of uric acid crystals in your body.

Immunologic Blood Tests

The immune system normally creates antibodies to ward off any invader. Immunologic tests can look for these antibodies. When the immune system causes auto immune diseases, it may make certain types of antibodies that can show the disease your immune system may be causing or fighting.

Laboratory Tests

Used in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Rheumatic Diseases. Laboratory tests are an important part of your treatment.


Methotrexate is sold under the brand names Rheumatrex® or Trexall®. It is widely used to treat people with rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis.


Myositis is an inflammation in your muscles. You can have one of several different types of myositis.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is also called wear-and-tear arthritis. Sometimes doctors will use the term degenerative joints disease or DJD. It is the most common type of arthritis.


Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease in the US. About ten million Americans have osteoporosis.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriasis is a skin rash that is caused by inflammation. People with the most common type of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis, have a red rash covered by silvery scales.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system does not work as it should. The healthy immune system protects you against harmful invaders like viruses. But in autoimmune diseases like RA, it attacks parts of your own body. This causes inflammation and pain.

Sjögren’s Syndrome

Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease. In this disease, the immune system sees parts of your own body as harmful invaders and attacks them. In Sjögren’s syndrome, the immune system attacks all the glands in your body. Glands help produce lubricating fluids in your body.

Spondyloarthropathy (SpA)

Spondyloarthropathy (SpA) is a group of diseases that involve inflammation. Inflammation is usually found in bones of the spinal column and in the hip joints. Sometimes, it is also found in the joints and tendons of hands and feet. Spondyloarthropathy includes:

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is also simply called lupus. It is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system attacks the cells of your own body. In lupus, cells in almost any part of your body can be attacked.

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