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Autoimmune Diseases Evaluation & Treatment

Whole Person Approach

An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your body. In normal conditions, your immune system functions to protect you against germs like bacteria and viruses. However, in certain situations, like autoimmune disease, the immune system gets confused and starts attacking your body, which at that time is seen as foreign, resulting in massive inflammation and damage to your organs.

Download this FREE guideline to learn the common symptoms of autoimmune diseases and how to prevent them

Rheumatologist OnCall and Dr. Diana Girnita have more than 15 years experience to evaluate and treat autoimmune diseases like.

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Discoid Lupus
  • Drug-induced Lupus
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
  • Sjogren Syndrome
  • Systemic sclerosis
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Polymyositis
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica
  • Behcet’s Syndrome
  • Cryoglobulinemia
  • Vasculitis (Granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis, Takayasu Disease)
  • Giant Cell Vasculitis
  • Relapsing Polychondritis
  • Inflammatory arthritis (Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis)

Why is Rheumatologist OnCall different from “traditional rheumatology practices”? 


We treat each patient as a whole person, not only their disease…

In the last 30 years, the incidence of autoimmune diseases has dramatically increased. This is most likely secondary to a few very important factors that are not usually discussed with you in 10 minutes appointments:

  1. Constant exposure to environmental factors like smoking, pesticides or solvents
  2. Our “Western diet”. Eating high-fat, high-sugar, and highly processed foods is thought to be linked to more inflammation and increased risk to develop autoimmune diseases.
  3. Lack of exercise. More and more people have sedentary jobs. We drive almost everywhere. The incidence of weight gain is on the rise. Obesity was linked to more inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to autoimmune diseases.
  4. Stress. We live under a lot of stress everyday. Our brain is well connected to our immune system and the chronic stress is linked to increase in cortisol level and more inflammation.

Our patient’s treatment plan includes a thorough analysis of all these factors and addresses them all.

Our patients benefit from a whole person approach and receive optimization of all aspects of their health, not only a pill. We believe medication is needed when lifestyle interventions are not enough.

We strongly believe in healing the mind, body and soul.

When do you need to be evaluated?

Every autoimmune disease is unique. Every patient is unique and has a unique presentation. However, there are also some common symptoms that we see in patients with autoimmune diseases. 

If you are experiencing any of these signs come to be evaluated….

  1. Fatigue – very common for patients with autoimmune disease to complain about being exhausted. Fatigue can have many causes, but inflammation is notorious for causing exhaustion or tiredness. Other common causes could be anemia induced by inflammation, thyroid disease, vitamin D deficiency or vitamin B 12 deficiency.Low grade fever – very common in patients with lupus or rheumatoid. Sometimes patients see they have variations in their temperature. It is important that you see a physician to rule out an infection if you have ongoing fevers.
  2. Low grade fever – very common in patients with lupus or rheumatoid. Sometimes patients see they have variations in their temperature. It is important that you see a physician to rule out an infection if you have ongoing fevers.
  3. Muscle aches– very common also, sometimes are diffuse and sometimes are more localized. For example in people with inflammatory disease of their muscles, that we call polymyositis, the muscle aches are more on the upper part of the arms or thighs. In another disease called polymyalgia rheumatica, the muscle aches are also localized in the shoulders and thighs area.
  4. Swelling of the joints-people with rheumatoid arthritis   or lupus will very commonly have the small joints affected like their hands or feet in a symmetric pattern. In other diseases, let’s say Psoriatic arthritis, one joint like the knee can be involved. PSA can also affect small joints.
  5. Brain fog– yes, this is true, brain fog is a common complaint in patients with autoimmune disease.people with lupus can have their brain affected by the disease. Also, in patients with fibromyalgia this is a common complaint.
  6. Hair loss – hair loss can be diffuse or in patches. It may happen in many patients with lupus and could be a sign of autoimmunity. Patients with autoimmune thyroiditis can also present with hair loss.
  7. Skin rashes – patients with psoriasis have skin rashes on their elbows, knees, scalp or in the genital area. However patients with dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disease that affects the skin and muscles at the same time can have rashes on the hands, elbows, the face or on the chest. Patients with lupus can present with the classic sign of malar rash which is a rash disposed like a butterfly on the nose and their cheeks.

If you have these laboratory changes, then you also need to be evaluated 

  1. Positive ANA test
  2. Positive ANCA Antibodies
  3. Positive Rheumatoid factor or anti-CCP antibodies
  4. Elevated markers of inflammation (ESR, C-Reactive protein)
  5. Other tests that your PCP are recommending (e.g. APL antibodies, dsDNA antibodies)

As I mentioned before, every patient has a unique presentation. Sometimes the symptoms come and go, sometimes the symptoms develop over a few months or a few years. It is very important when you have symptoms like these to contact a physician, a rheumatologist that will further examine you and determine the type of disease that might affect you.

We are happy to evaluate and, if needed, to treat you as a whole person and not only your disease. 

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