Utica Park Clinic’s Robert Howard, MD, specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases that may affect joints, muscles, bones, skin and other tissues. He is specially trained to identify many types of rheumatic diseases in their earliest stages, including arthritis, many types of autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain, disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and osteoporosis.

Dr. Howard can help you manage diseases to reduce negative impact on quality of life. He works with your primary care physician, therapists and other providers to ensure you receive the best in coordinated care. He is committed to offering high quality care and is known for his compassionate service.

Arthritis and rheumatic diseases can affect anyone, at any age, or of any race. However, certain diseases are more common in certain populations, including the following:

  • Osteoarthritis is more common among the elderly.
  • 70 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis are women.
  • Fibromyalgia affects two percent of the U.S. population.
  • Gout is more common in men.
  • Scleroderma is more common in women.
  • Lupus affects women about eight to 10 times as often as men.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis is more common in men.

The cause of most types of rheumatic diseases remains unknown and, in many cases, varies depending on the type of rheumatic disease present. However, researchers believe that some or all of the following may play a role in the development or aggravation of one or more types of rheumatic diseases:

  • Genetics and family history (for example, inherited cartilage weakness)
  • Lifestyle choices (such as being overweight)
  • Trauma
  • Infection
  • Neurogenic disturbances
  • Metabolic disturbances
  • Excessive wear and tear and stress on a joint(s)
  • Environmental triggers
  • The influence of certain hormones on the body

The following are the most common symptoms of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently, and different types of rheumatic diseases present different symptoms. In general, symptoms may include:

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling in the joint(s)
  • Joint stiffness that lasts for at least one hour in the early morning
  • Chronic pain or tenderness in the joint(s)
  • Warmth and redness in the joint area
  • Limited movement in the affected joint(s)
  • Fatigue



Rheumatology Providers

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