Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease affecting about 2.1 million Americans. The most debilitating type of arthritis, RA causes painful, stiff joints throughout the body which may become enlarged and deformed. However, affected joints only begin to paint the picture of Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis does not limit itself to joint deterioration; it can adversely affect almost any organ in the body. Specifically the skin, eyes, heart, nervous system, lungs, and blood are all potential victims of Rheumatoid arthritis complications.
Rheumatoid Nodules develop in between 25 and 50% of Rheumatoid Arthritis patients. Rheumatoid Nodules are firm, subcutaneous nodules frequently found on pressure points like the elbow, fingers, and other joints. They are one of the most visual indicators of rheumatoid arthritis deformity.
Rheumatoid Arthritis patients may also develop:
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dryness of the eyes due to decreased tear production
- Episcleritis or scleritis; inflammation of the connective tissue in the eye that gives it a red-eye appearance similar to conjunctivitis; however, there is no tearing.
These conditions can cause painful symptoms including increased light sensitivity, redness, and even vision loss.
Almost 50 % of RA patients develop pericardial effusion, or an abnormal accumulation of fluid around the heart. Although clinical symptoms are rare, fluid accumulation can cause increased pressure around the heart and adversely affect its function. Rheumatoid Arthritis may also lead to myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle. Both pericardial effusion and myocarditis can lead to congestive heart failure.
Two disorders of the nervous system may also develop as a result of rheumatoid arthritis:
- Peripheral nerve entrapment; results in pain and/or loss of nerve function as a result of chronic compression.
- Mononeuritis multiplex; eventual loss of sensory and motor function of individual peripheral nerves.
Interstitial lung disease is an increasing scarring of the lungs that eventually disturbs your ability to breathe and get enough oxygen into your bloodstream. While patients may be asymptomatic, this condition is quite common in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients.
It is very common for Rheumatoid Arthritis patients to develop anemia or other problems stemming from this condition. A patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis also carries the dangerous possibility of developing Rheumatoid Vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels. Potentially life-threatening, it can cause:
- skin ulcerations and infections
- nerve disorders that cause pain, numbness, or tingling
- bleeding stomach ulcers
Additionally, vasculitis can affect the brain, nerves, and heart, which can lead to stroke, heart attack, or heart failure. Naturally products have been shown to help greatly with Rheumatoid Arthritis.