Long Term Effects and Complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Long-term effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis
This is the most common after effect of arthritis, no matter what the type. The more severe the arthritis gets, the more painful it is and more the loss in range of motion. The longer you ignore it, the worse it gets.
After years of suffering, Rheumatoid Arthritis can result in joint deformities that usually starts with the smaller bones in fingers. Boutonnière deformity is among the most common of these deformities where the middle joints of the fingers are effected says Merck. Eventually the inflammation caused by RA at the synovial lining causes the digestion and destruction of bone surfaces.
Decreased physical activity
One of the major pain points of Rheumatoid Arthritis is the loss of range of motion or the ability to be as flexible or agile as before. As the condition gets worse, the range of motion deteriorates even further. And the only solution to this is to ensure that you get some exercise every day. But these are only the long-term effects. There are some conditions that can crop up irrespective to stage that one simply just has to regularly check for and control as best as possible. These are what we call the complications.
Complications caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect the eyes in many ways. The most common form is the inflammation of the episclera, the thin membrane that covers the white of the eye. This is usually mild but the eye can get red and painful. The more serious complication of the eye is scleritis which is the inflammation of the white of the eye that can lead to blindness. Another complication that a patient may face is Sjogren's syndrome where the lacrimal or tear producing glands are effected. This can cause dryness and infection of the cornea and conjunctiva.
About one fifth of patients suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis develop tissue lumps under skin mostly near the elbow, heels, forearms etc. This can develop over a period of time or suddenly but it is generally considered a sign of progression of the disease.
Heart and blood vessels
In some cases, Rheumatoid Arthritis can cause collection of fluid between the pericardium and the heart. This invariably doesn’t show any symptoms until the later stages of disease. Continuous fluid accumulation leads to the thickening and tightening of the membrane that interferes with the hearts ability to function well. A more rare complication is the inflammation of the heart wall itself. It is not just the heart that can be effected, Rheumatoid Arthritis can also effect the blood vessels. This is called vasculitis. The more common form is the when the blood vessels supplying blood to the skin is effected but it can affect any of the smaller blood vessels connected to the eyes, nerves and the heart. This condition is a rather serious and observed only during the severe stages of the disease.
The same inflammatory process that effects the heart can also effect the lung causing plueritis and fluid collection. And sometimes, it is the treatment for RA that can cause lung problems. In most situations, these symptoms can only be observed once the disease has reached a rather degenerative state. But why wait till then? Have you scheduled your regular health check-up yet?
- Tags: Facts
- Flexable Health