Mercy's Rheumatologist Dr. Sadia Khan Discusses Early Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

December 10, 2018
Rheumatology at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Doctors say it's important to listen to your body for symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

About 1.5 million people in the U.S. have rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that affects the joints. Three times as many women as men are affected by the disease.

Cheryl Thrasher said it's a relief to be walking like she used to. Until recently, something as simple as walking was painful.

"It was to where I could barely walk. It took me 45 minutes just to get dressed in the morning, and I knew something else was wrong," Thrasher said.

She went to see Sadia Khan M.D., a rheumatologist with Rheumatology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Khan is treating Thrasher for rheumatoid arthritis.

"I was in a lot of pain when I came in. When she put me on medicine, it was almost instant. It got better," Thrasher said.

According to Dr. Khan, Thrasher's joint pain and the loss of range of motion are early signs for some patients.

"Typically, morning stiffness is part of it, so they tend to get up in the morning, it feels like, 'I can't get moving, it takes me an hour to get moving.' Fatigue is another sign of it, joint swelling," Dr. Khan said.

There's no concrete reason for why more women are affected than men. The average onset age is between 30 and 60, and family history is also a factor. They're all important factors to remember because a patient can have successful treatment if diagnosed early.

"We can change the course of the disease with medicine that we have now, which is amazing," Dr. Khan said.

Dr. Khan notes that she sees less cases where chronic inflammation can cause joint deformity, which is why Thrasher said she's glad she went looking for answers.

"Just get it checked out. You never know. Better safe than sorry," Thrasher said.

View Mercy rheumatologist Dr. Sadia Khan’s interview regarding early signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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