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Information about rheumatoid arthritis and its complications

 Information about rheumatoid arthritis and its complications

Information about rheumatoid arthritis and its complications

Arthritis is a common disease that can attack young children, teens, and adults. The symptoms are mainly joint pain and inflammation. In the UK, around ten million people suffer from one form or another of arthritis .

There are two more common types: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type, affecting around eight million people in the UK. Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage lining of the joints, making movement difficult as they become stiff and painful. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis attacks the tissues in your organs and joints that can change the shape of your joints.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory and autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity means that your immune system starts attacking healthy cells in your body by mistake.

It causes inflammation, pain and swelling in the affected part of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis primarily develops in the joints, attacking many joints simultaneously. However, rheumatoid arthritis can also attack your organs, such as lungs, heart, etc...

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term, multiple symptom. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that attacks the synovial joints of the body and progresses to inflammation. It results in pain and disability.

 There are three types of rheumatoid arthritis

1. rheumatoid factor positive (sero-positive).

2. Rheumatoid factor negative (negative).

3. Rheumatoid factor seropositive RA.

You may have rheumatoid factor positive if your blood tests are positive for a protein called rheumatoid factor (RF). Blood tests will show that you may be producing an immune reaction to your normal tissues. However, RF antibodies can appear in other medical conditions such as infections but you may be four times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis if your relatives test positive.

Rheumatoid factor RA seronegative

When a blood test is negative for RF, the diagnosis cannot be based on a blood test alone. It would be helpful if you do x-rays too. Those who test negative may still have RA but in a milder form.

nested conditions

An autoimmune disease can exhibit many common symptoms, which makes diagnosis difficult, which means that people who are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease may develop other diseases, such as lupus, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease and many more.

Complications of rheumatoid arthritis.

Here are nine different complications that can occur when you have rheumatoid arthritis:

1. Bones and joints.

When you develop rheumatoid arthritis, which is not treated, it can cause long-term health problems in your bones and joints.

The progressively inflamed joints from rheumatoid arthritis can lead to the destruction of the cartilage and bone surrounding the joint. Severe cartilage loss can lead to bone deformation and stabilization.

When you get injured joints, it's often irreversible. You can have total replacement surgery, but it can only be on large joints like the knees.

DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) can prevent or delay a damaged joint. But with all medicines, you may have side effects.


When or if you have rheumatoid arthritis, you're at increased risk for osteoporosis, which is a loss of bone density and makes fractures more likely. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis usually begin in older people and smokers.

It can be treated with corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are often known as anti-inflammatory steroids that you can get with a prescription and have many uses. They come in different forms, such as tablets, injections, inhalers, and even lotions or gels.

2. Lifestyle disorder:

Here are several ways that rheumatoid arthritis and its treatment can affect your lifestyle.

Sleep - Pain can keep you awake at night. Or you could also have fibromyalgia. The nervous system causes fibromyalgia in the brain and spine, and it does not control or process pain signals from other parts of the body.

Disability - Daily tasks will become difficult as joints become damaged and achy. For example, you may need help doing simple tasks like getting dressed or taking a shower using your mouse on your computer.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention trusted source)

The CDC reports that people with RA symptoms are more likely to have:

1. Changing jobs - if they are having difficulty.

2. Reducing working hours - they don't sleep properly and get tired all the time.

3. Retire early - they feel like they can't manage anymore.

4. They lose their job - by not being able to do tasks.

3. Psychological problems

With rheumatoid arthritis, you'll be stressed, anxious, and upset all the time with the pain, you're going in day after day.

You will also feel:

1. Loss of self-confidence: You may have lost your self-confidence and are insecure.

2. Feeling helpless: You will feel a lack of motivation.

3. Clinical depression: You may feel sad all the time, and it may be for weeks or months instead of days.

4. Anxiety disorder

Some people will find it difficult to control their fears. When you have anxiety attacks they can be constant and often affect your daily life. The main symptoms are feelings of: panic, agoraphobia, agoraphobia, or it may be a social anxiety called social phobia.

5. Anemia

Anemia is where rheumatoid arthritis inflammation can reduce the production of red blood cells in your body. This could be caused by: fatigue, weakness or dizziness.

6. Lungs

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect your lungs. It is called rheumatic lung and is a group of lung diseases. They can include:

1. A pleural effusion is where you get fluid in the lungs or in the chest cavity.

2. Pulmonary fibrosis is a thickening (or scarring) of your tissues. This condensation, or scarring, hardens the structure of your lungs and reduces the effectiveness of sending oxygen to your bloodstream. Therefore, the hardening of the tissues in your lungs will be more difficult to increase your lungs and breathing.

7. Nodules

Tissue nodules or masses are described as irregular growths of tissue that develop under the skin. Nodules, like your internal organs, can be found deeper than skin tissue.

8. Pulmonary hypertension

Blood vessels carry blood from your heart to your lungs. It can cause heart disease. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation can travel to or around your heart, which can lead to myocarditis and pericarditis.

1. Myocarditis - inflammation of the heart muscles.

2. Pericarditis - the inflamed membrane that covers your heart.

Both are very dangerous as they can lead to congestive heart failure, or congestive heart failure. In addition, because the heart cannot pump blood around the body, fluid collects in the lungs, so people with rheumatoid arthritis can also be at risk of heart attack, atherosclerosis, or vasculitis.

9. Sjögren's syndrome

Rheumatoid arthritis is also associated with Sjogren's syndrome. Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune condition that attacks moisture-producing cells such as the tear glands. This syndrome occurs mainly in women, and its symptoms are:

1. Dry eyes and mouth.

2. Increased cavities in your teeth.

3. Dryness in the vaginal area.

4. Difficulty swallowing and speaking.


It is essential to get treatment for rheumatoid arthritis as soon as possible. The earlier you get treatment, the better. Good care may increase the likelihood of recovery, and can reduce the joint damage and inflammation you experience. Work closely with physical and occupational therapists and your GP to help you develop a plan that works for you.