The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is an organization of and for physicians, health professionals, and scientists that advances rheumatology through programs of education, research, advocacy and practice support that foster excellence in the care of people with arthritis and rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.
With nearly 300 chapters, branches, and support groups in 32 states, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) is the nation’s leading non-profit voluntary health organization dedicated to finding the causes and cure for lupus. Their mission is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of lupus, support individuals and families affected by the disease, increase awareness of lupus among health professionals and the public, and find the causes and cure. There are chapters in Kansas City and St. Louis.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) is a worldwide leader in research of rare disorders. The mission of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases is to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.
Established in 1984, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization solely dedicated to osteoporosis and bone health.
We encourage patients to become educated on routine vaccinations, as they help prevent communicable diseases, and may help protect our immunosuppressed patients from several common diseases. Click Here for the updated CDC website vaccination recommendation schedules.
Scleroderma is a rheumatic autoimmune disease that causes hardening of the skin and other tissues of the body. Early symptoms include Raynaud’s phenomenon. Although Scleroderma is chronic, it can be treated successfully. John Hopkins is a world-wide leader in Scleroderma research and treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions for your benefit. Please ask your physician any additional questions for a more individualized answer.
Is it safe to be on medications during the COVID 19 pandemic?
Do I need to hold my immunosuppression to get the COVID vaccine?
It appears that people on immunosuppressive drugs tend to have a blunted response to COVID-19 vaccination. This particularly applies to rituximab and, to a lesser extent, mycophenolate and JAK inhibitors such as tofacitinib. The American College of Rheumatology generally recommends holding immunosuppressive medication for one to two weeks after each vaccine dose, as disease activity allows; or, for people on IV medication, timing vaccination for one week prior to the next dose.
What is Rheumatology?
Rheumatology derives from “rheumatism”, a now colloquial term which refers to disorders of connective tissue, especially muscles, joints, and associated structures. Rheumatologists diagnose and treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis and tendonitis; and most autoimmune disorders, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Is there anything I can do to improve my health besides medications?
Always! Without a doubt, rigorous trials suggest leading a healthy lifestyle improves our bodies resiliency and ability to cope with musculoskeletal issues, as well as directly limiting inflammation. This includes avoiding excessive sugary products, staying active with exercise and movement strategies, and avoiding tobacco products. They really do make a huge difference!
My medications are too expensive. Can you help?
Sometimes! If your medication has a generic option (many do), then lower prices often can be found through Costplusdrugs, GoodRx, or Affordabledrugs. If your condition requires more expensive brand name medications, then patient assistance programs or manufacturer co-pay card may work for you. We will help you figure out the right choice for you.
I am a new patient. What should I expect?
Our visits include a comprehensive history and physical examination to help guide your care. We ask that all new patients arrive 30-45 minutes early. Please bring a copy of your insurance card.