Changing the Landscape of Chronic Pain
Dr. Michael Smith with the Center for Rheumatic Disease says he would be happy to be out of a job if they ever found a cure. However, until then, he will continue to treat and advocate against the painful and debilitating diseases affecting his patients. Millions of Americans suffer from some form of rheumatic disease, and thankfully, Smith says new research and treatments are making an impact.
Smith’s new office, located at 500 NE M- 291 Highway, specializes in treating patients who suffer with various types of rheumatic disease. According to Smith, more than 100 diseases are classified as rheumatic diseases, including many types of arthritis. Other rheumatic diseases are considered autoimmune diseases, meaning that the body’s own immune system is damaging other parts of the body.
While his main office located on the Plaza, Smith is expectant to make an impact in Lee’s Summit and the surrounding communities. He is also on staff at St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City and St. Luke’s East.
“Rheumatic diseases wind up involving the joints,” says Smith. “That can be defined as joint problems caused by infection, autoimmune disorders, or crystal diseases, such as gout.” He explains that ,many diseases start with arthritis ends up affecting the patient’s skin, heart, kidney or lungs.
Though he was raised in Buffalo, NY, Smith treats his patients with the care and concern of a native Midwesterner. His warm and engaging personality not only makes a patient feel right at home, it helps them understand what is going on in their body and how treatment is going to help fight it.
The new Lee’s Summit office will have openings for appointments three days a week with a goal to have full time hours in the near future. Smith and his staff recently welcomed Dr. Kalista Engelman as a new addition to the practice.
“I have the best staff anyone could have,” Smith says. “They are highly skilled and personable and I wouldn’t have the success I do without them.”
Treatments for various diseases include osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis and Crohn’s colitis. Smith says that in the last decade the landscape for treatment has advanced in the patient’s favor so much that a patient is more than just managing pain but living a normal life and normal life span.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common of the diseases Smith treats. About 70 percent of those over age 70 have x-ray evidence of osteoarthritis. Because of this, it is the main reason older people experience mobility issues. As a rheumatologist, Smith can detect arthritis and prescribe the proper treatment. In 2013, the American College of Rheumatology reported that rheumatoid arthritis affects 1.3 million adult Americans and remains a serious disease; however, treatment advances not only slow the disease but also can arrest it. Smith says with all the new treatments, they have a better understanding of when and how to use the treatments and what treatment to use in order to ‘target’ the inflammation.
“There are a class of drugs that have been used worldwide to treat inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and these other types of diseases,” says Smith. “They are able to reduce inflammation and stop disease progression.”
For more information visit CenterForRheumatic.com or call 816.531.0930.