These Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms Absolutely Cannot Be Ignored
Rheumatoid arthritis is an insidious condition that can lead to negative effects beyond pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints.
Because it is an autoimmune disorder, it can have far-reaching effects in the body as the immune system attacks itself. Sadly, for most people, it is a progressive disease. Once RA starts, it keeps going and will slowly get worse.
This means that one of the more important things you can do to manage your rheumatoid arthritis is to keep an eye on your body. RA can present new symptoms and often they do not seem to be connected with to the disorder. But to prevent long-acting harm, keep the following symptoms in mind.
Rheumatoid arthritis does not just affect the joins. One of the most common other parts of the body affected by RA is the respiratory system.
In fact, RA can lead to something called Interstitial Lung Disease. Though ILD can also be caused by other factors, the results are the same: it becomes difficult to breath properly.
Lung transplants are necessary in extreme cases.
The inflammation from RA can cause tissue scarring in the lungs, pulmonary nodules which are small growths that affect lung function, and can also cause fluid to build up between the lung and the wall of your chest. This prevents your lungs from opening fully.
So, if you start feeling out-of-breath more often, it may not just be a lack of exercise or old age catching up to you.
Rheumatoid arthritis itself does not have any affect on your bone density, but some RA drugs are known to cause bone density loss. This can lead to osteoporosis.
The most obvious sign of osteoporosis is a broken bone. If one of your bones breaks, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor to find out if that was just a physical accident or if your bones are becoming weaker.
Digestive system trouble
Your digestive system is another part of your body that may be affected by either rheumatoid arthritis or the drugs used to manage it.
Ulcers, colitis, diverticulitis, and stomach bleeding are linked to either RA or its medications. If you start to have digestive troubles, a change in your medications may be necessary to prevent further complications.
Also, RA and its treatment can harm your gut flora. The bacteria in your intestines help you digest food and keep you healthy, so when that population is harmed you feel it. Diarrhea and constipation are some of these signs. Prebiotics and probiotics can help ensure healthy gut flora.
Inflammation is one of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is part of your body’s natural defenses against foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. But when the immune system is not functioning properly, this fever may be a sign of danger, more so than for people without RA.
See, part of the treatment for RA is medication that weakens the immune system. Because RA involves the immune system attacking your joints, this can help protect your joints, but it also reduces your body’s ability to fend off the germs mentioned before.
A light fever that my not be trouble for other people may be the herald of a serious infection that your weakened immune system cannot fight off alone. When you have a fever, seek medical attention early, before it turns into a problem.
Read on for more symptoms you should be aware of when it comes to RA.