Rheumatoid Arthritis Complications

What Are The Complications Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
16 Nov 2022
7 mins
Table Of Content
Rheumatoid Arthritis Complications

    We all know that rheumatoid arthritis affects joints but not only affects the joints but also different organs since it is an autoimmune disorder. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder which is caused due to the changes in the immune system and these immune systems attack the body’s own cell causing autoimmune disorder irrespective of age and gender as it occurs in all age groups. Let’s discuss rheumatoid arthritis complications and how it affects different parts of the body.


    8 Complications Of Rheumatoid Arthritis


    Since rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder it creates impact on several parts of the body and organs. Let’s know about rheumatoid arthritis complications that are assosiated with different parts of our body.

    1. Skin: Rheumatoid arthritis can cause lumps in the skin which are known as rheumatoid nodules. Common sites of these nodules include especially in elbows, skin, forearms, fingers and in heels. Nodules can grow to the maximum level rapidly or gradually and helps in identifying the severity of the disease. The skin looks like an ulcer due to the inflammation of the blood vessels. If it occurs in large arteries it can also affect the vital organs and damage the internal organs if it is not treated.

    2. Eye: Rheumatoid arthritis affects the eyes in several ways which includes inflammation in the episclera, which is the membrane that covers the white part of the eyes and causes pain and redness of the eyes. If this inflammation of sclera is not treated properly it leads to vision loss. Sjogren’s syndrome is caused in severe stages of rheumatoid arthritis where the immune system attacks the tear gland. It causes eye dryness and also dry cough, dry skin, vaginal dryness. Eye dryness leads to infection of cornea and leads to corneal damage.

    3. Blood: Rheumatoid arthritis affects blood count and platelet count where it reduces the blood cell count causing severe anaemia and platelet count is increased depending upon the inflammation and severity of disease in the patient with rheumatoid arthritis. Proper monitoring of blood count and taking medicines regularly can control the inflammation and reduction of  blood count.

    4. Lung: Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with several lung complications that can lead to breathing difficulties, persistent coughing and chest pain. One common complication is pleurisy, which causes inflammation around the lining of the lungs. In progressive stages it leads to fibrosis which causes changes in lung tissues and nodules in the lungs. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is more common in the patients with rheumatoid arthritis and it’s good to check if there are any breathing difficulties and lung related issues.

    5. Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is closely related to rheumatoid arthritis because it causes thinning and weakening of bones. It is most common in the women than in men who is in the phase of post menopause and it is otherwise known as post-menopausal osteoarthritis. It’s good to check bone density and osteoporosis which can cause serious complications because it can cause breaking of bone or fracture due to weakness.

    6. Pain in the neck: As we already know rheumatoid arthritis causes pain in joints of fingers and wrists but it will also affect other parts of the body like the neck. It causes stiffness of the neck and patients feel difficulty in turning the head. Doctors usually suggest simple exercise to reduce the stiffness of the neck but proper treatment measures should be taken and bone density should be checked to avoid complications of rheumatoid arthritis

    7. Heart and blood vessels disease: Pericarditis is the condition where it causes swelling around the lining of the heart which makes the membrane of the heart tighter and thicker. It is very common in the patients with rheumatoid arthritis where the condition becomes worse. Long term inflammation can lead to stroke and earlier treatment of rheumatoid arthritis can reduce the complications of cardiovascular diseases.

    8. Liver and kidney complications:  NSAIDS are non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs which are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis , and can cause increased creatinine levels in kidneys. Kidney function tests should be monitored regularly when the patient is taking medications for rheumatoid arthritis. If the patient with rheumatoid arthritis is not treated with proper medication it can worsen the condition and leads to severe liver cirrhosis.


    “Stay active and stay healthy”

    10 Tips For Preventing Rheumatoid Arthritis Side Effects

    1. Quit smoking.
    2. Avoid consumption of alcohol.
    3. Check for bone density earlier and minimize bone loss.
    4. Maintain ideal body weight.
    5. Add healthy proteins in your diet.
    6. Increase vitamin D in your diet as it increases bone density.
    7. Maintain good oral health.
    8. Reduce the exposure to environmental pollution.
    9. Blood glucose control.
    10. Consult the doctor earlier if there is any prolonged pain in joints.



    Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured completely but you can notice them in the earlier period that makes a greater difference in the rest of the life. Immune system plays an important role because this disease has a strong relationship between autoimmune disorders and hence patients are advised for immune suppressive therapies to reduce the destruction of their own body cells. They can be prevented by keeping fit, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, adding vitamin D and fish to your diet improves bone density.

    “Prevention is better than cure”

    Written by
    Dr. Sree MadhumithaContent Writer
    Tags :causes of rheumatoid arthritisrheumatoid arthritis symptomsprevention of rheumatoid arthritistreatment of rheumatoid arthritismedicines for rheumatoid arthritis