More Than Just Joints: How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the Rest of Your Body

References

How RA can affect the heart

Rheumatoid arthritis and lungs

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You know that arthritis affects your joints. Painful, swollen knees or fingers are impossible to ignore. But did you know that other parts of your body your skin, eyes and lungs, to name a few may also be affected?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease, meaning it can affect many parts of the body. For that matter, so can some of safety and efficacy of hormones drugs used to treat RA.

Following is a listing by body part of the ways RA and sometimes the drugs used to treat it can affect you. Many of these problems such as bone thinning or changes in kidney function cause no immediate symptoms so your doctor may monitor you through lab tests or checkups. About half of people with RA develop rheumatoid nodules lumps of tissue that form under the skin, hoxley anti cancer formula over bony areas exposed to pressure, such as fingers or elbows.

Unless the nodule is located in a sensitive spot, such as where you hold a pen, treatment may not be necessary. Nodules sometimes disappear on their own or with treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs DMARDs. When RA-related inflammation of the blood vessels called vasculitis affects the skin, a rash of small red dots is the result. In more severe cases, vasculitis can cause skin ulcers on the legs or under the nails.

Controlling the rash asthma anger ulcers requires controlling the underlying inflammation.

Corticosteroidsprescribed to reduce inflammation, can cause thinning rheumatoid arthritis and lungs the skin and susceptibility to bruising. People taking biologics, a sub-category of DMARDs designed to stop inflammation at the cellular level, may develop a rash at the injection site.

Chronic inflammation from RA leads to loss of bone density, not only around the joints, but throughout the body, leading to thin, brittle bones.

Exercise, a high-calcium diet and vitamin D can all help bones, but in some cases your doctor may need to prescribe a drug to stimulate bone growth or prevent rheumatoid arthritis and lungs loss, rheumatoid arthritis and lungs. Some people with RA develop inflammation of the whites of the eyes scleritis that can lead to scarring, rheumatoid arthritis and lungs.

Symptoms include pain, redness, blurred vision and light sensitivity. Scleritis is usually treatable with medications prescribed by your doctor, but in rare cases, rheumatoid arthritis and lungs, the eye may be permanently damaged.

RA can also cause uveitis, an inflammation of the area between the retina and the white of the eye, which, if not treated, could cause blindness. The result is eyes that feel dry and gritty. Artificial tears, which are available over the counter, as well as medications your doctor prescribes, can keep eyes more comfortable and help prevent damage related to dryness.

Corticosteroids may cause rheumatoid arthritis and lungs and cataracts. Hydroxychloroquine, in rare cases, causes pigment changes in the retina that can lead to vision loss. As a rule, people with RA should get eye checkups at least once a year. Inflammation can damage the moisture-producing glands of the mouth as well as the eyes, resulting in a dry mouth.

Over-the-counter artificial saliva products and self-treatment often helps. If not, your doctor may prescribe a medication to increase the production of saliva. Good dental hygiene is a must, as bacteria tend to flourish in a dry mouth, leading rheumatoid arthritis and lungs tooth decay and gum disease.

Methotrexate can cause mouth sores or oral ulcers. For treatment, try a topical pain reliever or ask your doctor or dentist for a prescription mouthwash. Up to 80 percent of people with RA have some degree of lung involvement, which is usually not severe enough to cause symptoms. However, rheumatoid arthritis and lungs, prolonged inflammation of the lung tissue can lead to a form of lung disease called pulmonary fibrosis that interferes with breathing and can be difficult to treat.

Methotrexate can cause a complication known as methotrexate lung or methotrexate pneumonia, which generally goes away when the methotrexate is stopped. Less common drugs, including injectable gold rheumatoid arthritis and lungs penicillamine, can cause similar pneumonias.

The condition goes away when treatment ceases; patients can usually resume the drug in a few weeks. By suppressing your immune system, corticosteroids, DMARDs and biologics may increase your risk of tuberculosis TBa bacterial infection of the lungs.

Your doctor should test for TB before initiating treatment and periodically after. Chronic inflammation can damage endothelial cells that line the blood vessels, causing the vessels to absorb more cholesterol and form plaques. Heart attack and stroke. When plaques from damaged blood vessels break lose they can block a vessel, leading to heart attack or stroke. In fact, a Swedish study found that the risk of heart attack for people with RA was 60 percent higher just one year after being diagnosed with RA.

Inflammation of the heart lining, the pericardium, may manifest rheumatoid arthritis and lungs chest pain. Treatment to control arthritis often controls pericarditis as well. Your doctor will need to evaluate your risk when prescribing treatment for your RA. For example, long-term use of the pain reliever vitamin d defiency and hearing loss Tylenol is considered a leading cause of liver failure.

Liver diseases may also occur with long-term methotrexate use. Working with your rheumatologist to monitor your blood is key to preventing problems. As with the liver, drugs taken for arthritis can lead to kidney problems, rheumatoid arthritis and lungs. If you are taking these drugs long term, you doctor will monitor your kidney function to watch for problems.

Unchecked inflammation can lead to a reduction in red blood cells characterized by headache and fatigue. Treatment consists of drugs to control inflammation along with iron supplements. Inflammation might lead to elevated blood platelet levels, and blood clots. Though rare, people with longstanding RA can develop Felty syndrome, characterized by an enlarged spleen and low white blood cell count.

This condition may lead to increased risk of infection and lymphoma cancer of the lymph glands. Immunosuppressant drugs are the usual treatment. Aggressively treating inflammation with corticosteroids may cause thrombocytopenia, an abnormally low number of blood platelets.

Pinched or compressed nerves. Although RA does not directly affect the nerves, inflammation of tissues may cause compression of the nerves resulting in numbness or tingling. One relatively common problem is carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition in which the nerve that runs from the forearm to the hand is compressed by inflamed tissue in the wrist area, resulting in tingling, rheumatoid arthritis and lungs, numbness and decreased grip strength.

Understanding Arthritis Uric acid and ascorbic acid Is Arthritis?

Do I Have Arthritis? More Than Just Joints: By Mary Anne Dunkin. Want more info about rheumatoid arthritis? Sign up to get tips, tools, resources, and more to help you manage RA. Fill out the info below to get started today!

 

Rheumatoid arthritis and lungs

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