Arthritis is a chronic condition that mainly affects your joints and bones, but does it also have the power to affect your organs? The relationship between arthritis and your body is complicated, as everything is interconnected. This is why most patients get diagnosed with lung problems if they previously have a history of rheumatoid arthritis. To learn more about how arthritis affects your lungs, continue reading this blog.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks your joints. While it is a lifetime disease, the pain isn’t constant. It usually arises in sporadic flare-ups. These are like mini-episodes of pain that cause joint inflammation and internal swelling.
Your body mistakes the joint tissues as a threatening source, which is what leads to joint damage and deformities. Due to this, the lining of the joints, known as the synovium, breaks down and gives way to pain. It is also important to keep in mind that rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the joints in your hands and feet — or rather, the joints that require the most movement.
There isn’t an identifiable source of the disorder, as it can affect anyone at any given time. However, genetic and environmental factors play a big role in shaping your joint health. In order to avoid serious damage, getting a professional diagnosis as early as possible is better. Dr. Zohair Abbas has years of experience working as a professional rheumatologist. He takes his time studying the problem before recommending an appropriate treatment to soothe the painful symptoms.
Can Arthritis Affect Your Lungs?
Even though arthritis is mainly known as a condition that affects your joints, it can also leave traces on your lungs. Rheumatoid lung disease is a mix of different lung-related conditions that are caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Patients might experience their airways getting blocked or fluid gathering in their lungs. This, in turn, causes a domino effect that leads to pulmonary disease alongside the chronic symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Signs Arthritis is Taking a Toll on Your Lungs
Not only does arthritis weaken your bones and joints, but it can also negatively impact other body parts, such as the heart, lungs, eyes, skin, and even the digestive system. However, lung problems are not a common side effect of the disorder.
Contact a professional rheumatologist to get a further diagnosis. Nevertheless, below are some of the most common signs that indicate something is wrong with your lungs, especially if you have rheumatoid arthritis.
- There is Scarring Within Your Lungs
It is not common for your lungs to develop scars or bruises. If these scars run deep, it could be due to interstitial lung disease.
- Your Airways Are Swollen
When your bronchial tubes are inflamed, they tend to swell and close up, which results in your lungs getting affected.
- There Are Small Lumps on Your Lungs
Rheumatoid nodules are small benign lumps that form in the lungs. While they aren’t something to worry about, if they burst, your lungs can collapse with them.
- You Are at Risk of a Pulmonary Disease
Facing constant problems related to your lungs is not normal. A recurring pulmonary disease could be a big indicator that something is wrong.
- You Keep Getting Pneumonia
Pneumonia causes fluid and pus to fill up inside your lungs. Frequently facing the same issue can have grave effects on your lungs.
Arthritis can deeply affect your lungs, especially if the condition is too severe. To ensure your symptoms aren’t negatively affecting your health, contact Rheumatology Care of North Houston at (832) 532-9779 to schedule an appointment today.