Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disorder wherein the immune cells and antibodies that normally defend the body against pathogens or disease-causing agents attack the membrane that lines the joints. Such an immune response occurs, owing to the body’s inability to distinguish between the body’s own tissues and the foreign invaders. When the joints get inflamed due to the attack by antibodies, it gives rise to symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, malaise, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Since rheumatoid arthritis is a major disease, one must watch out for the early symptoms of rheumatic arthritis. Though there can be flare-ups, the symptoms can be managed with medical treatment. If drug therapy is administered in the early stages, the disease can go into remission and the patient would unquestionably have more chance of living a normal life. Another step towards better quality of life for patients suffering from this inflammatory disorder is to determine the other diseases that are linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Research is being conducted to identify these diseases and look for ways to lower the incidence of these diseases. In this article, we’re going to find out if rheumatoid arthritis can make one susceptible to other diseases.
Though rheumatoid arthritis typically affects the joints, it can also affect other areas of the body as the skin, heart, lungs, eyes, nerves and blood vessels. Since rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, the treatment involves the use of oral or biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. At times, the use of such immunosuppressive drugs can give rise to certain side effects. It is likewise believed that ailments or infections associated with rheumatoid arthritis could be due to the prolonged use of certain drugs. Here are a few of the diseases that are associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
The drug stops the destructive cells migrating to the joints, where they cause the typical damage associated with the disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease in which elements of the immune system attack the body. White blood cells called T-cells are key players in the process. Study leader Dr Graeme O’Boyle, from the University of Newcastle, said; ‘Imagine that the damaged joint is covered in flags which are signalling to the white blood cells. Traditional treatments have involved pulling down …
Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease which can have a negative effect on the lung function. People suffering from this inflammatory disorder are at an increased risk of developing the rheumatoid lung disease. The rheumatoid lung disease is marked by a group of lung problems. Pleural effusion is one such lung problem where excess fluid accumulates in the pleural space. The accumulation of fluid can impair the patient’s breathing pattern. Patients must also seek medical assistance if they experience shortness of breath or dizzy spells on exertion. These are signs of pulmonary hypertension. This is a condition that is caused due to elevated blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein or capillaries. Pulmonary fibrosis, which relates to the scarring of interstitial tissues that are placed around the air sacs, is another condition that could develop in people with rheumatoid arthritis. One could also develop nodules in lungs. Pleural fluid analysis, CT scan, chest X-ray, lung biopsy and pulmonary function tests are among the diagnostic tests that doctors may order to confirm the diagnosis of the rheumatoid lung disease. It is believed that the rheumatoid lung disease could be caused owing to the use of certain drugs that may be prescribed for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
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Sjogren’s syndrome is a systemic autoimmune disease that is marked by the dryness of eyes and mouth. This condition arises when the specialized structures of the immune system attack the tissues that are found in the lacrimal and salivary glands. If this condition develops by itself, it is called a primary Sjogren’s syndrome. One is diagnosed with secondary Sjogren’s syndrome if this disease develops along with another autoimmune disease. It isn’t uncommon for people with rheumatoid arthritis to develop Sjogren’s syndrome. This condition can lead to severe dryness of the eyes, thereby making one prone to keratitis. The patients must keep their eyes lubricated with artificial tears under such circumstances. One can also have punctal plugs fitted so as to retain moisture in the eyes.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is another condition that may develop in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Carpal tunnel is a little space in the wrist through which the median nerve passes. It is the median nerve that offers the sensations in the carpus and fingers. It controls certain muscles thereby facilitating the freedom of movement of the thumb and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs owing to the entrapment of the median nerve. It may occur when the synovium. This is the membrane surrounding the joint, gets inflamed due to rheumatoid arthritis. Under such circumstances, one is most likely to experience pain, numbness or tickling sensation in the affected hand.
FAQ’s: Is there anyone who is suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, and being treated with Embrol Injections?Are you having Embrol for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis? I am very interested in hearing from anyone on this treatment, and how it affects them. I have been on the treatment for 4 weeks now, and feel that itis not working for me. I look forword to hearing from others on this treatment.
Hi, so sorry to hear you have RA, I don't have this illness, but have read about Enbrel (think that's the right name) when researching treatments for my own condition (I have Fibromyalgia). This treatment is known as a TNF blocker, and works by blocking the cytocines responsible for the inflammation in RA. They are said to help with pain, swollen joints and morning stiffness. The injection given subcutaneously (directly into the body fat), which is not too painful, and is usually given once or twice a week. These treatment usually take a few weeks before you start to notice any difference, but if you are not noticably improving after 12 weeks, then your doctor will probably discontinue the treatment. You might notice a small reaction at the injection site, although this usually disappears within a few weeks. Other side effects include increased susceptability to infections and certain blood disorders. For more information see the following links: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis/DS00020/DSECTION=8 http://www.rheumatoid.org.uk/article.php?article_id=113 http://arthritis.about.com/od/enbrel/Enbrel_Etanercept_Dosage_Side_Effects_Interactions_Warnings.htm I would also like to say that as a fellow chronic pain sufferer I know it can be very frustrating and isolating. It can also be scary when trying new medications with no real idea other than what the drug leaflet tells. But I found a great online forum for sufferers of my condition, and have found the support invaluable. It might be worth you doing the same. Good luck, Mel.
The symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis are aching and throbbing joints which may even become deformed. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may start as small swellings beneath the skin where pressure points are located like close to the elbows, feet, tendons, and hands. Symptoms may occur in different parts of the body. Other signs of rheumatoid arthritis are aching and rigor of joints and muscles, particularly after rest. Pain and swelling in the joints, especially in the hands, or loss of motion in the joints may also occur.
The term vasculitis refers to the inflammation of blood vessels. People, who’ve a high concentration of rheumatoid factor in their blood are more likely to develop vasculitis. Inflammation of blood vessels could cause the blood vessels to weaken. In severe cases, the blood vessels may become constricted, thereby affecting the blood flow. Vasculitis does not develop in the initial stages of rheumatoid arthritis. Though a small proportion of patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis develop inflamed blood vessels, patients who’ve developed rheumatoid nodules or have swelling in many joints are more likely to develop rheumatoid vasculitis. Vasculitis could also give rise to lesions or purpura (purple discoloration of the skin).
Osteoporosis is a medical condition that is marked by reduction in the bone density. Women are more susceptible to developing this condition. Calcium deficiency is one of the more common contributory factors for osteoporosis. Heavy smokers, alcoholics or people, who live a sedentary lifestyle are also under an increased risk of developing this condition. A prolonged use of certain drugs that are used for treating conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, seizures, and lupus can also make one susceptible. A prolonged use of glucocorticoids that are prescribed for alleviating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis could also cause reduction in bone density, for instance.
Rheumatoid arthritis can also increase the risk of a heart attack and stroke. Since rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammatory disease, it can cause inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the heart. This condition is medically referred to as Pericarditis. At times, fluid may collect between the heart and the membrane that surrounds the heart. This can adversely affect the capacity of the heart to perform its functions. Sometimes, nodules can also develop on the heart.
Anemia is a condition that is marked by deficiency of red blood cells. It is one of the more common conditions that may develop in people who’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The secretion of proteins by the inflamed tissues may have a negative effect on the body’s capacity to produce red blood cells. The drugs that are used for treating rheumatoid arthritis can also trigger bleeding from the digestive tract. These in turn may cause anemia.
Cancer is a grave disease which is characterised by the development of malignant growth owing to abnormal and uncontrolled cell division. Studies have been conducted on cancer diseases linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Some of these studies suggest that rheumatoid arthritis could make one prone to certain types of cancer. A few studies suggest that people with severe rheumatoid arthritis have a slightly higher risk of developing lung cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or leukaemia. The term ‘lymphoma’ refers to the cancer of the lymphatic system. Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are the two types of cancer that start in the lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are a form of white blood cells that defend the body against disease-causing agents. Leukemia is the cancer of the blood-forming tissues. Such an abnormal and uncontrolled cell division in lymphocytes or blood-forming tissues could be triggered by the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking is a contributory factor when it is a matter to lung cancer. While inflammation or scarring in lungs that may be caused by rheumatoid arthritis could make one susceptible to lung cancer, the risk is even greater in the event of heavy smokers who’ve been diagnosed with this inflammatory disease. Some studies have linked the elevated cancer risk in people with rheumatoid arthritis to the prolonged use of drugs such as azathioprine, TNF, or methotrexate inhibitors such as adalimumab, etanercept and infliximab. For instance, certain studies have linked the use of TNF inhibitors to lymphoma and a form of skin cancer called Melanoma. A study conducted in 2008 suggests that chronic inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis can cause hyperglobulinemia. These in turn may make one susceptible to myeloma. However, there are other studies that have ruled out this therapy-related cancer risk. In fact, certain studies suggest that people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are less likely to develop breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer. Since studies have conflicting conclusions, there is a need for extensive research on the relationship between the use of rheumatoid arthritis medication and cancer.
This was a brief summary on the diseases related to rheumatoid arthritis. People, who’ve tested positive for the rheumatoid factor need to be very cautious about the lifestyle choices they make. Though this inflammatory disorder cannot be cured, it can be managed with the assistance of the drug therapy. If you comply with the guidance or guidelines given by your doctor, in addition, you can reduce the risk of the diseases that are associated with rheumatoid arthritis.