In addition to the day-to-day pain that is associated with rheumatoid arthritis, there are other health concerns
that sufferers must be aware of. Since rheumatoid arthritis attacks the auto-immune system, patients may be dealing
with a compromised immune system, making them more prone to other health problems. Here are some of the common
complications that your rheumatologist may warn you about.
Cardio-vascular disease - many patients who are being treated for rheumatoid arthritis may develop heart
conditions. This may be from a combination of the disease as well as the medications that are prescribed by your
rheumatologist doctor. Conditions such as hardening of the arteries, blocked arteries and inflammation of tissues
surrounding the heart may occur.
Carpal tunnel syndrome - patients who have diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis should discuss their daily activities
with their rheumatologist. This is especially true for those who perform repetitive tasks that could cause carpal
tunnel without the complications of arthritis. This is especially true when patients are diagnosed with arthritis
in their wrists and hands.
Lung diseases - whether you are a current or former smoker or have never smoked, those with rheumatoid
arthritis may be more prone to lung disease. Various problems like shortness of breath may occur due to inflammation
in the lungs which may lead to scar tissue forming in the lungs.
Osteoporosis challenges - women generally have a higher risk of osteoporosis than men do. This is even more
pronounced for women who have rheumatoid arthritis. Changes in the body may result in thinner, weaker bones. In
addition to the higher risk associated with rheumatoid arthritis, the medications that are prescribed by your
rheumatologist may also increase the risk.
Being aware of these additional risks can make it easier to understand the changes in your body when you are suffering
from rheumatoid arthritis. While there is nothing you can do to stop rheumatoid arthritis from progressing, there are
some things that you can do that may help minimize the impact of rheumatoid arthritis on your overall lifestyle. These
helpful hints can also help alleviate some of the additional symptoms associated with some of the diseases that are
commonly found in patients with RA.
Work with health care professionals - it is important to work with your entire health-care team when you have
rheumatoid arthritis. Your rheumatologist should be able to help you work out a good exercise regimen, offer suggestions
for pain management and understand what you can anticipate.
Avoid over-extending yourself - patients who have rheumatoid arthritis often find they get tired after short
periods of time of activity. In these cases, it is best to rest and when necessary, take a nap. Don't forget to set
aside some time for yourself and time to take care of yourself.
Living with rheumatoid arthritis may mean minor changes in your lifestyle. Your rheumatologist can help you determine
an acceptable level of activity based on how severe your symptoms are and how severe your inflammation is. Don't be
afraid to talk to your rheumatologist doctor about any symptoms that you might be experiencing as they may be early
signs of a developing problem.