Conditions We Treat
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. It is caused when the immune system (the body’s defense system) is not working properly. RA causes pain and swelling in the wrist and small joints of the hand and feet. Treatments for RA can stop joint pain and swelling. Treatment also prevents joint damage.
The BMC Rheumatology clinic is a national leader in point-of-care ultrasound evaluation to both help establish the diagnosis and to evaluate disease activity and response to therapy. A BMC clinical pharmacist works closely directly in the clinic with our doctors and patients to ensure that patients are well-informed about their medications, that medication interactions are minimized, that all appropriate vaccinations have been offered and that the insurance approval process is navigated efficiently. This all means a safer and timelier implementation of joint saving treatment. The latest treatments for rheumatoid arthritis are available including therapies through the Infusion Suite in the Moakley Center and provides patients with the utmost privacy, comfort, and convenience. The Suite includes private rooms with beds and bays with large reclining chairs for patients and comfortable seating for those who accompany them.
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease which causes fibrosis of the skin and internal organs. The Scleroderma Center at BMC is recognized internationally as a leader in scleroderma, and provides diagnosis and treatment of patients with systemic sclerosis. BMC’s scleroderma program, the largest in New England, offers the latest diagnostic and therapeutic measures available. Physicians take a multidisciplinary approach for comprehensive evaluation and treatment of patients with all forms of scleroderma, with multidisciplinary specialist care involving cardiology, pulmonology, dermatology, gastroenterology, radiology, urology, and others as needed. The team also conducts extensive research in this area, including exploration of basic connective tissue biology and evaluation of medications through clinical trials. The program is a member of the Scleroderma Clinical Trials Consortium. As a leading scleroderma research center, patients may be offered opportunities to participate in research studies.
Localized scleroderma (morphea) patients are seen as part of the Dermatology-Rheumatology clinic at BMC. Patients can be seen by both specialties on the same day to maximize both convenience and communication between providers to optimize treatment for all aspects of the condition.
Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis. Intensely painful, swollen joints (most often in the big toe or other part of the foot) and/or bouts of arthritis that come and go may indicate gout. Finding the characteristic crystals in the fluid of joints allows health care providers to correctly diagnose gout.
BMC rheumatologists are at the forefront of developing national treatment guidelines for gout, and participate in internationally-recognized research to help identify better diagnostic and treatment approaches to the condition. Point-of-care ultrasound assessment is available which can help minimize discomfort in sampling joint fluid, and occasionally allows the diagnosis of gout to be made without the need for invasive procedures. As a leading gout research center, patients may be offered opportunities to participate in research studies.
Lupus is a multisystem autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks normal, healthy tissue, which can cause damage to the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lung, and blood. BMC clinicians helped develop the nationally accepted classification of systemic lupus erythematosus, which has made this formerly elusive connective tissue disease easier to diagnose. Physicians at BMC also pioneered various treatments for lupus, particularly at the stage when the disease begins to affect the kidneys. The Lupus Clinic at BMC is a partnership between the Departments of Rheumatology, Dermatology, Nephrology, and Obstetrics/Gynecology. Patients can frequently be seen by two or three specialists on the same day and get a coordinated treatment plan for all aspects of their condition before they leave. Patients may also be offered enrollment into cutting edge research studies when standard treatments are insufficient. Our patient navigator helps ensure that clinic visits are efficiently planned and that patients get appropriate follow up appointments as well as monitoring between appointments.
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory arthritis that typically occurs in people with skin psoriasis, but it can occur in people without skin psoriasis, particularly in those who have relatives with psoriasis. It is a form of spondyloarthritis, which means it is a type of arthritis that can cause inflammation of the spine.
BMC Rheumatologists are leaders in the field, being at the forefront of developing national treatment guidelines for psoriatic arthritis. The Dermatology-Rheumatology clinic at BMC is a collaboration of the Dermatology and Rheumatology Departments to treat patients suffering from condition that affect the skin and the joints including psoriatic arthritis. Patient can be seen by both specialties on the same day to maximize both convenience and communication between providers to optimize treatment for all aspects of the condition. The clinic is equipped to allow point-of-care ultrasound assessment of joints and tendons, which is especially helpful for diagnosis and monitoring of disease activity since psoriatic arthritis does not have a diagnostic blood test and blood levels of inflammation are frequently normal even when the condition is active.
Ankylosing spondylitis is the main type of spondyloarthritis, in the same family as psoriatic arthritis. Ankylosing spondylitis is manifested by inflammation of the spine, leading to back stiffness and pain, and overtime, the spine can become fused.
BMC Rheumatologists are leaders in the field, conducting extensive research in this disease, and leading national treatment guidelines. Specialized therapies are prescribed and monitored by renown experts, including many new treatments. As for rheumatoid arthritis, a clinical pharmacist works closely with the clinicians and patients in the clinic, and infusion therapies are available in the Moakley Infusion Suite.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis worldwide, and is largely a mechanically driven disease in which joint repair mechanisms cannot keep up with joint damage processes that eventually involves all of the joint tissues, including loss of cartilage and bony changes. Although the tissue damage cannot be reversed, symptoms can be effectively managed.
BMC rheumatologists are world leaders in osteoarthritis research, and lead national treatment guidelines for osteoarthritis. We offer physical modality treatments in addition to topical, oral and injection therapies, including with point-of-care ultrasound guidance. We use the latest techniques to minimize joint injection discomfort, and maximize accuracy and effectiveness of treatment. We collaborate with the integrative medicine center to offer a holistic approach to osteoarthritis pain. As a leading center for osteoarthritis research, patients may be offered opportunities to participate in research studies.
Vasculitis is an autoimmune disease-causing inflammation of blood vessels that can lead to changes in the blood vessels that limit blood flow which can have organ and life-threatening consequences. The disease can be long term (chronic) or short term (acute), and can affect one organ, or several. There are many different types of vasculitis, most are rare; some require medications to keep the disease under control, while others may improve without treatment depending on the type that you have. Types of vasculitis include:
- Giant cell arteritis /Temporal arteritis
- Cryoglobulinemic arteritis
- Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
- Churg-Strauss syndrome
- Henoch-Scholein purpura
- Behcet’s disease
- Polyarteritis Nodosa
- Takayasu’s arteries
BMC physicians pioneered the development of the NIH sponsored Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium and offer internationally recognized expertise in the evaluation and treatment of all forms of vasculitis.
Inflammatory Myositis (Dermatomyositis and Polymyositis)
The inflammatory myopathies (dermatomyositis and polymyositis) are a family of autoimmune diseases that target the muscles, resulting in weakness and elevated CK levels. Patients with dermatomyositis often have skin rashes that can be disfiguring and very sensitive to sun exposure. Inflammatory myositis can be seen in combination with other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and scleroderma.
BMC Rheumatologists have extensive experience in treating these diseases and their complications. The Dermatology-Rheumatology clinic at BMC is a collaboration of the Dermatology and Rheumatology Departments focused on the treatment of patients who have conditions that affect both the skin and the musculoskeletal system, including dermatomyositis. Patients can be seen by both specialties on the same day to maximize both convenience and communication between providers to optimize treatment for all aspects of the condition.
Other Rheumatic Diseases
BMC Rheumatologists offer diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of additional rheumatic diseases, and works with specialists in many other fields to provide state-of-the-art multidisciplinary care. Use of point-of-care bedside musculoskeletal ultrasound helps obtain faster diagnoses, and deliver safer and more effective therapy.