FoxNews.com—July 16, 2007
In the past seven months, Tina Fineberg’s life has changed. No one can figure out why the 48-year-old mother of three gets burned out from doing everyday things.
“One doctor says possible stroke and another doctor says possible MS. I went to a neurologist for the MS and that was negative. MRIs of the brain and the spine didn’t show any lesion. So the neurologist says maybe it’s fibromyalgia,” says Fineberg.
So Fineberg and her husband traveled to Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City to get some answers.
“Sometimes its not that clear what a patient has. The whole point of the Early Arthritis Center at Hospital for Special Surgery is to make sure that we’re not missing patients with early inflammatory arthritis because we now know that treating patients early can prevent some of the damage that rheumatoid arthritis can cause,” says Dalit Ashany, M.D., rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery.
“Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis. There is tenderness when we examine the joints. There might also be swelling and redness or warmth in the joints,” says Dr. Ashany.
Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult in the early stages. Once a diagnosis is made, starting treatment is key.
Sixty-nine-year-old Carol Solomon, a patient at Hospital for Special Surgery, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a year ago.
“The rheumatoid arthritis is basically in my hands,” says Solomon. “One of the hardest things is making a fist.”
Solomon has been doing physical therapy to ease the arthritis in her hands and back.
“I can pretty much manage to do whatever I need to do—maybe a little clumsily—but I can get it done,” she says.
Some people aren’t so lucky. Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to long-term life damage and even disability.
This report originally appeared on FoxNews.com.