Imagine Better Health Blog Post

Quick Treatment Brings Relief to Wilma Shaw's Rheumatoid Arthritis

Jan 25, 2017

Joint pain, swelling, stiffness... three key symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis.
 
A local hospital is now providing services to help more patients with this painful condition.
 
"I couldn't walk, you can't drive, your hands don't work," Wilma Shaw, a rheumatoid arthritis patient, said.
 
Turning the pages was once nearly impossible for Wilma.
 
Doctors diagnosed the 43-year-old with rheumatoid arthritis in November. Wilma was in so much pain, she could barely move.
 
"I brought in a commode because one night, I was literally on the toilet for 45 minutes trying to just stand up," Wilma said.
 
Wilma's body became stiff and her joints swelled up.
 
"I literally thought that my body was attacking myself and I was dying," Wilma said.
 
Wilma met with Dr. Sruthi Kanuru, CHI St. Vincent's first Rheumatology doctor.
 
"It's a chronic condition, so all the treatment that we have is to keep the arthritis in remission," Dr. Kanuru said.
 
Dr. Kanuru says rheumatoid arthritis develops when the immune system attacks the joints, which results in stiffness, swelling and pain. She doesn't know what triggers it, but it's typically treated with medication.
 
In this case, it helped Wilma almost fully recover, though she still has some swelling in her fingers.
 
"She did have, I could feel the swelling in the joints, and that's what I rely mainly on a diagnosis," Dr. Kanuru said.
 
"It feels like someone is crushing you. You're stiffening up like a tin can and being crushed at the same time," Wilma said.
 
But she said she feels like a new person today, and she's grateful for a new Rheumatology Program for opening its doors to patients like her to get fast treatment.
 
If untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can affect other organs in the body.
 
To learn more about the program, click here.

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