Susan A. Baker, MD, FACR, a world-renowned rheumatologist, has dedicated her practice to healing adults and adolescents with arthritis and diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue. Dr. Baker understands that management of arthritis and connective tissue diseases can be complex and long-term.
That is why Dr. Baker strives to make each step in the process as simple and stress-free as possible. In order to better serve her patients, Dr. Baker currently offers individualized service treatment plans for a wide variety of conditions as an outline to the left.
Arthritis is distinguished by stiffness, inflammation, or pain in the joints. Inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to disease or injury. Once a joint becomes inflamed, the tissue is damaged. Arthritis can be caused by damage to a joint from disease, muscle strains caused by forceful movements against stiff, painful joints and fatigue, or simply by daily wear and tear. If you are experiencing discomfort from the pain of arthritis contact Dr. Baker today to schedule an appointment.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. The result of which is joint pain, stiffness and swelling, as well as decreased range of motion. The most commonly affected areas are joints near the ends of the fingers, base of the thumb, neck, lower back, knees and hips. Unlike other types of arthritis, only joints are typically affected with osteoarthritis. This disease is caused by previous joint injuries, abnormal joint or limb development and inherited factors. People who are overweight, have different length legs, or work jobs that cause regular joint stress are at the greatest risk of suffering from this painful disorder. If you are looking for osteoarthritis treatment, care from Dr. Baker can begin today.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is an extremely common discomfort caused by a wide variety of circumstances. One such circumstance is osteoarthritis; however, back pain can also occur due to injury, overuse, or pressure on nerve roots. If you are suffering from lower back pain contact Dr. Baker today to begin treatment.
Osteoporosis causes bones to weaken and become brittle. Due to this breakdown within the bone, a mild stress like bending over or even coughing can cause a painful fracture. Bones are made up of living tissue that is constantly being replaced as it is broken down. When osteoporosis occurs, bones stop regenerating new tissue. Age and health history are large factors surrounding the development of this disease, however, there are treatments available to increase calcium levels and help maintain bone mass already in place. Dr. Susan Baker provides treatments tailored to individual needs for those at risk or already dealing with the damaging effects of osteoporosis.
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a chronic inflammatory disorder that usually affects the small joints in your hands and feet. This type of arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing swelling that is extremely painful and in certain cases can result in bone erosion and joint deformity. Symptoms of RA can be treated with diet, physical therapy, medication or surgery. If you are living with the pain and discomfort associated with rheumatoid arthritis, treatment from Dr. Baker can begin today.
Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is a chronic, inflammatory, connective tissue disease that can affect the joints as well as organs. Lupus occurs when the body’s immune system stops making antibodies to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and antigens. Lupus obstructs the body’s ability to tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. This means the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue instead of attacking only things like bacteria and viruses, resulting in inflammation. Although there is no cure for lupus, there are a variety of treatment options available. Seeing a doctor early and often prevents damage to the organs that can become severe if not treated. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Baker today to discuss treatment options.
Vasculitis symptoms vary greatly based on the specific area being affected. Generally, vasculitis causes fatigue, weakness and weight loss. However, this disease can affect the skin, muscles, lungs, heart, kidneys or, in some cases, the brain. If not treated, the effects of vasculitis can be extremely severe. Certain cases can result in seizures, kidney failure, or even congestive heart failure. There is a wide variety of varying treatment options depending on the degree of severity, which is possible through care from Dr. Baker.
Ankylosing spondylitis, or AS, often impairs a person’s ability to perform routine activities. The symptoms surrounding this disease involve pain and stiffness in the low back, buttocks, and hips as a result of an overgrowth of the bones. Pain often occurs in the ligaments and tendons attached to the bones as well. However, symptoms may not be limited to the joints. In certain cases fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite can occur. There is a lot that can be done to relieve the pain and stiffness associated with AS. Treatment options include medication, exercise, physical therapy, and in severe cases surgery is an option. If you are currently experiencing the discomfort associated with AS, contact Dr. Baker today to begin outlining a treatment plan.
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects some people suffering from psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disorder characterized by recurring episodes of redness and itching resulting in red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are the main symptoms of this type of arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any part of your body. There are five types of psoriatic arthritis and treatment options vary accordingly. Although there is no existing cure, controlling symptoms and preventing damage to the joints can significantly reduce discomfort. These treatment options can vary widely from case to case, with individualized care possible with Dr. Baker.
Reactive arthritis is typically characterized by joint pain and stiffness, eye inflammation, urinary problems, or swollen toes or fingers. This type of arthritis develops in reaction to an infection in another part of your body, intestines, genitals or urinary tract. There are many types of bacteria that can cause reactive arthritis and as many ways to treat and manage symptoms. Treatment options include, but are not limited to, medications and physical therapy. If you are experiencing discomfort due to reactive arthritis, diagnosis and treatment from Dr. Baker can provide you with a path to a healthier and happier life.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Arthritis)
Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a disorder in which the intestines become inflamed. In most cases, the cause of IBD is an immune reaction the body has against its own intestinal tissue. Two major types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, is strictly limited to the colon or large intestine. Medication plays a large role in the treatment of IBD, resulting in inducing remission, maintaining remission and greatly improving the patients quality of life. If you are suffering from symptoms of IBD contact Dr. Baker today to get started on treatment options.
Juvenile spondyloarthritis, also known as juvenile spondyloarthropathy, is a catchall term for a group of childhood rheumatic diseases that cause arthritis before the age of 16 and may span throughout adult life. Most commonly, juvenile spondyloarthritis causes pain and inflammation in the joints in the lower part of the body, such as the pelvis, hips, knees, and ankles. However, other areas of the body can also be affected, including the spine and shoulders. Other symptoms include fatigue and lethargy. Experienced rheumatologist Dr. Susan Baker provides long-term treatment options for patients dealing with the painful symptoms of juvenile spondyloarthritis.
Dermatomyositis is a connective tissue disease associated with polymyositis. Symptoms of dermatomyositis include muscle weakness, particularly of the arms and legs, and a distinctive skin rash, Dermatomyositis can also affect the joints, esophagus, lungs, and less commonly, the heart. Dermatomyositis is part of a group of muscle diseases called inflammatory myopathies and it is believed to be similar to an autoimmune disorder, where the immune system attacks the body. Though there is no cure for dermatomyositis, early diagnosis and treatment can improve symptoms and muscle strength.
Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells that produce saliva and tears. Sjögren’s is often a secondary condition with other disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. The main symptoms of this condition are dry mouth and dry eyes. In Sjögren’s syndrome, the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands found in the eyes and mouth start to decrease the production of tears and saliva. Proper diagnosis is necessary in order to identify and properly treat Sjögren’s syndrome, since dry eyes and mouth can be symptoms of other disorders.
Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a long-term autoimmune disease that results in hardening and tightening of the skin. Other symptoms of scleroderma include spontaneous scarring, blood vessel disease, and varying degrees of inflammation, associated with an overactive immune system. The scar tissue formation is what leads to the thickening and hardening of the skin. While the causes of scleroderma are unknown, the underlying mechanism involves the body’s own immune system attacking the healthy tissues. Learn how Dr. Baker manages the long-term symptoms of scleroderma and helps improve the quality of life of her patients.
Gout and Pseudogout
As their names imply, gout and pseudogout share common symptoms, but are different enough to be different conditions. Both gout and pseudogout cause sudden severe pain in one joint with little to no warning, but each type typically affects different joints. The most common sites impacted by gout include the big toe, heel, fingertips, or wrists. While pseudogout most frequently affects the knees, it can also appear in the ankles, wrists, shoulders, or even the hips.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term disorder that includes symptoms such as widespread musculoskeletal pain that is often accompanied by fatigue and problems with sleep, memory, and mood. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia is caused by how the brain processes and amplifies pain signals and sensations. While fibromyalgia symptoms can sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection, or significant psychological stress, symptoms can also gradually accumulate over time without a triggering event. Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are treatments available to improve both the long-term pain and fatigue caused by this condition.
Tendinitis and Bursitis
Tendinitis and bursitis are autoimmune disorders that affect the muscles and bones. These conditions can become chronic in certain patients, and tendinitis and bursitis are often caused by overuse or unnecessary stress on a joint. Though tendinitis can occur throughout the entire body (particularly in the elbow, shoulder, and knee), bursitis commonly affects the heel or big toe.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Upon ingestion, gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) causes the body to mount an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage to the villi (part of the lining of the small intestine) that helps nutrient absorption. Once the villi get damaged, nutrients can’t be absorbed properly by the body. Treatment for celiac disease includes a healthy, gluten-free diet and specific medications that can ease intestinal inflammation.
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, progressive disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own central nervous system (the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves). This attack is characterized by damage to the myelin — the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers — in addition to the nerve fibers themselves. As a result, the damaged myelin forms scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name. Multiple sclerosis can present with wide-ranging symptoms including pain, loss of sensitivity, muscle spasms, pronounced reflexes, etc. Diagnosing multiple sclerosis consists of a series of tests with treatment centered on managing the recurrence of symptoms and reducing the severity of these symptoms.
Temporal arteritis, also called giant cell arteritis, occurs when the temporal arteries, which supply blood to the head and brain, become inflamed or damaged. If left untreated, temporal arteritis can lead to other serious conditions, including aneurysms and strokes. Other symptoms include double vision, loss of vision, throbbing temporal headache, fatigue, weakness, and loss of appetite. Nearly 40 percent of patients with temporal arteritis will also experience respiratory problems or nerve pain as an additional issue. While there is no cure, early treatment can help relieve symptoms and prevent conditions from worsening.
Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid disease, is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. These hormones help the body use energy, stay warm, and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as efficiently as they should. When the body doesn’t have enough thyroid hormone, the body processes start slowing down, resulting in symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, constipation, and intolerance to cold. Current treatments for hypothyroidism are considered to be safe, simple, and extremely effective.
Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back pain may originate from an injury, disease, or stresses on different structures of the body. Generally, back pain is considered “chronic” if it lasts longer than three months. The type of pain from chronic back pain may vary greatly and can be characterized as bone pain, nerve pain, or muscle pain. Sensations from chronic back pain vary as well and can be felt as aching, burning, stabbing, or even tingling sensations. As a result of chronic back pain, patients may experience secondary symptoms like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, depression, anxiety, and more.
For more information on Rheumatological Conditions, visit niams.nih.gov
Contact a Los Angeles Rheumatologist Today
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Baker today to discuss your treatment options and to determine the choice that’s right for you. Contact our Beverly Hills rheumatology center today to speak with autoimmune disease specialists!