How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects The Body

Posted on January 31st, 2022 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is very different from other types of arthritis – it is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects not only the joints but also many other areas of the body. Like other autoimmune conditions, the immune system mistakenly attacks your body’s tissues. 

Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints, leading to painful inflammation and swelling, often resulting in bone erosion or joint deformity.  

Ways Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects The Body

The inflammation that results from rheumatoid arthritis can cause many other health complications throughout the body. Some of the areas of the body that are affected include: 

  • Skeletal system – The first and most common sign of rheumatoid arthritis is pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness in the joints throughout the body. This pain is often more intense in the morning and can further cause burning sensations and tingling. Those with this condition are also more likely to develop other illnesses of the skeletal system, including osteoporosis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Circulatory system – Rheumatoid arthritis is also known to interfere with your body’s ability to transport blood. It can cause health issues such as anemia and, in very rare cases, inflammation of the sac around the heart (pericarditis), inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), or congestive heart failure. 
  • Respiratory system – Those with rheumatoid arthritis are at a higher risk of developing scarring or damage to the lung tissue (rheumatoid lung) and inflammation in the lining of the lungs (pleurisy). Other health issues that can occur include blocked airways, fluid in the chest, and high blood pressure. 
  • Skin – Sometimes lumps, called rheumatoid nodules, can appear in the skin in areas of joint inflammation that are usually not painful.
  • Eyes and mouth – The eyes can be affected by Sjorden’s syndrome, often linked to rheumatoid arthritis – a disease causing severe dryness in the eyes, more eye infections, and potentially corneal damage. This syndrome can also cause a chronic dry mouth and throat, which leaves people more susceptible to tooth decay, gingivitis, and other oral health care problems.  

For exceptional orthopaedic care, contact Orthopaedic Specialty Group!

It’s crucial to seek expert medical treatment if you struggle with problems or pain associated with your bones or joints. Give the professionals at Orthopaedic Specialty Group a call at (203) 337-2600, and let us know how we can help you! Don’t let that pain hold you back from living your life. Your health and safety are our top priority.