To schedule an appointment with a Kelsey-Seybold rheumatologist, call 713-442-0427 or complete our online physician request form. You'll get a response in 24 hours or less! Page ContentQ: I’m a 43-year-old single mom and the sole support of two grade-schoolers. Recently, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis by my family doctor. Will I be able to continue workingA: "Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that mainly affects joints in the fingers, hands and wrists, causing pain, swelling, stiffness and even deformity," says Mario Lamothe, MD, a board-certified specialist in Rheumatology at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. "But other joints, including elbows, shoulders, knees and feet, can be affected as well."So, yes, in a severe case, holding down a full-time job could pose a significant physical challenge," Dr. Lamothe says. “Even simple activities such as bathing, dressing, making meals and driving a car can become obstacles for someone with severe rheumatoid arthritis."Early and regular treatment is the key to better patient outcomes."To alleviate symptoms and reduce the possibility of irreversible joint damage, early treatment by an experienced rheumatologist is of paramount importance," says Dr. Lamothe. "Research and technological advances have made it possible for us to control this chronic disease in a manner permitting most patients to remain active and productive at home and work."A new generation of biological drugs has improved the chances of obtaining better control of the underlying inflammation causes."Fortunately, with modern therapies under the regular care of a knowledgeable rheumatologist, the prognosis has never been better," Dr. Lamothe says. "RA has gone from being a crippling, disabling disease, to a more manageable condition with symptoms sometimes unnoticed to the untrained observer."