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Rheumatology

Rheumatology

If you or a loved one experience unexplained joint pain, redness, swelling, fatigue, loss of appetite or similar symptoms or you just don’t feel well, your immune system may be out of balance. Because your immune system produces antibodies that can destroy harmful substances, you want to find out what’s happening as quickly as possible and reduce potential damage to healthy tissues.

Expert Care for Your Immune System

Start on your path to better health by meeting first with your primary care doctor to discuss your symptoms and the option for a referral to OU Health’s rheumatology specialists in Oklahoma City or Tulsa. OU Health’s rheumatologists, the expert specialty physicians who diagnose and treat rheumatic diseases, work with you to get a complete picture of your condition, develop an accurate diagnosis and create an evidence-based treatment plan to help improve your specific situation.

Symptoms of Autoimmune Disorders

Because many immune system disorders share the same symptoms and may affect multiple areas of your body, you may experience some of these common symptoms:

  • Unexplained muscle, bone or joint pain
  • Anemia (low level of red blood cells/hemoglobin), low platelets, abnormal blood clots
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Inflammation signs such as rash, fever, redness or swelling of joints
  • Changes in kidney or lung function
  • Muscle weakness
  • Multiple color changes in fingers when cold or stressed

Rheumatic or Autoimmune Conditions

At OU Health, you’ll find expert rheumatologists who provide specialized care and treatment for many autoimmune disorders, including:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis – Inflammation of spine, joints and, possibly, eyes
  • Behçet’s disease – Commonly produces painful, recurrent oral and genital ulcers; may create eye disease, skin lesions and joint pain
  • Dermatomyositis – Muscle disease involving inflammation and skin rash
  • Gout – Acute and chronic inflammation of joints; may produce tophi (crystal deposits) from hyperuricemia
  • Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) – Body-wide response to immune dysfunction
  • Osteoarthritis – Wear-and-tear arthritis of joints in fingers, knees, hips and back
  • Osteoporosis – Weak bones that fracture easily
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica – Painful muscles and severe fatigue
  • Psoriatic arthritis – Inflammation of joints associated with psoriasis of the skin
  • Reactive arthritis – Bone and joint-related condition that follows an infection
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – Chronic inflammation of joints and surrounding tissue; may affect other organs
  • Sarcoidosis – Inflammation of lungs and joints; may affect brain, eyes and other organs
  • Scleroderma – Inflammation and fibrosis of the skin and, possibly, lungs and other organs
  • Sjögren syndrome – Affects glands producing tears and saliva, resulting in dry mouth and dry eyes; may affect kidneys, lungs and joints
  • Temporal arteritis – Inflammation of blood vessels in the head; may cause headache, jaw pain, visual disturbances or blindness
  • Vasculitis – Acute inflammation of blood vessels effecting skin, kidneys, lungs and other organs

Research-Based Services & Treatments for Autoimmune Disorders

Beyond providing you with direct care, your OU Health rheumatologists serve as faculty at the University of Oklahoma, where they work with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) to explore and develop advanced treatments for many autoimmune conditions. You benefit from this pioneering research by gaining early access to innovative approaches that emerge through participation in clinical trials.

Nationally Accredited Testing Laboratory Close to Home

At OU Health, you and your care team also can take advantage of groundbreaking autoantibody testing through a specialized CLIA-approved laboratory that meets federal regulatory requirements for accuracy, reliability and timeliness and serves as the gold standard for all of Oklahoma and the surrounding states.

The high-quality Reichlin or Lupus Profile Test information helps your doctors deliver a precise diagnosis and determine appropriate care for your specific condition, which may include the latest drugs to reduce inflammation and immune response.

Your Rheumatology Care Team

Multiple autoimmune conditions can occur at the same time, which often creates challenges to finding an accurate diagnosis. That’s why you want to choose OU Health’s expert rheumatologists who hold years of experience in providing direct care and also help educate the next generation of specialists in the diagnosis, treatment and exploration of autoimmune disease.

Your OU Health rheumatologists collaborate with our autoimmune research specialists and bring together their extensive rheumatology education and experience in autoimmune disorders as they work with you to develop both an exact diagnosis and a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan tailored to your needs.

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