Complications When you have Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

 November 29, 2021

By  Linda Rook

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis affects your autoimmune disease,  unlike osteoarthritis, where it is wear and tear of the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can affect your organs, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe.

 Bone And Joint Health.

When you get RA, and it goes untreated, it can cause long-term health problems with your bones and joints.


Progressive inflamed joints from RA can destroy your cartilages and bones surrounding the joint.

A severe loss of cartilage could lead to your bones becoming deformed and immobilised.

When you get joint damage, it is frequently irreversible. You can get total replacement surgery but it can only be on the big joints like the knees.

There is a DMARDs drug (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) that could prevent or delay the damaged joint.  But with all drugs you may have side effects.

bone and joints


When or if you are a RA sufferer, you are at increased risk of getting osteoporosis, which is loss of bone density and makes fractures more probable.

Osteoporosis and RA usually begin in older people and smokers.

You could be treated with corticosteroids.

What Are Corticosteroids.

Corticosteroids are often known as anti-inflammatory steroids that you get on prescription and are used for many uses.
They come in different forms such as tablets, injections, inhalers and even lotion or gel.


Corticosteroids are often known as anti-inflammatory steroids that you get on prescription and are used for many uses.

They come in different forms such as tablets, injections, inhalers and even lotion or gel.

Lifestyle Disruption.

The following are many ways that RA and the treatment can affect your lifestyle.

  • Sleep.
  • The pain from your RA can keep you awake at night.
  • You could also have fibromyalgia; this could disturb sleep. The nervous system causes fibromyalgia in your brain and spine, not controlling or processing pain signals from other parts of the body.
  • Disability.
  • Everyday tasks will become difficult with your joint damage and pain. For example, you may not be able to do simple tasks like getting dressed or even washing up using a mouse on your computer.
  • The CDC or (The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Trusted Source), has reported that people with RA symptoms are more likely to:
tired to work
  • Change jobs 
  • Reduce work hours – as they may be having difficulty in sleeping properly, due to the pain.
  • Retire early – They feel that they cannot manage anymore.
  • Or Lose their job – through not being able to do the tasks.
  •  Psychological Problems.

    With RA, you will feel stress, anxiety, and feeling down all the time with the pain you are in, day in and day out.

    You will also feel:

    • Loss of self-esteem: you may have lost your self-confidence and un-secure.
    • Feelings of helplessness: you will feel a lack of motivation.
    • Clinical depression: maybe you may feel sad all the time and could be for weeks or months rather than days.

    I have had depression, and it is not pleasant, I was crying and did not no what I was crying about.  Know I am on pills for the depression. They are helping but with all drugs they have side effects.

    Anxiety Disorders.

    Some people will find it hard to control their worries. Anxiety could be constant and often affects their daily lives. The main symptoms are feeling: panic, agoraphobia or claustrophobia or could be social anxiety, called social phobia.



    The symptoms of RA can also increase the risks of other conditions; for example, if you have RA, you are at high risk of cardiovascular disease and infections.

    Other conditions could be:


    Anaemia is where your RA’s inflammation can lower the production of your red blood cells in your body. And this could be caused by: Fatigue, weakness, dizziness.


    Rheumatoid arthritis can affect your lungs called ‘rheumatoid lung’ is a group of lung conditions. These can include:

    Pleural Effusion – this is where you get fluid in the lungs or your chest cavity.

    Pulmonary Fibrosis – this one is thickening (or scarring) of your tissues. This thickening or scarring, the structure of your lungs stiffening and less effectively sending oxygen to the bloodstream. Therefore, the stiffness of the tissues in your lungs will be more difficult to increase the lungs and breathe.


    The nodules or lumps of tissue is described as a growth of irregular tissues that develop just under the skin. The nodules can also be found deeper than the skin tissues like your internal organs.

    Pulmonary Hypertension.

    This next one is caused by the change in your pulmonary arteries; the blood vessels carry the blood from your heart to the lungs.

    Heart Disease –  When you have RA, the inflammation could go in or around your heart, which can cause myocarditis and pericarditis.

    Myocarditis –  This is inflammation of the muscles of the heart.

    Pericarditis –  The inflamed membrane that covers your heart.

    Both of these are very dangerous as they can lead to CHF or (congestive heart failure). Because the heart can’t pump blood adequately around the body, therefore fluid collects in the lungs.

    This means that people with RA can also have an increased risk of heart attack, hardening of the arteries or blood vessel inflammation.

    Sjogren's Syndrome.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis is also linked with ‘Sjogren’s Syndrome. Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune condition that attacks moisture-product cells like tear glands.

    This syndrome is mainly in women, and its symptoms are:

    • Dry eyes and mouth.
    • Increase of cavities in your teeth.
    • Dryness in the vaginal area.
    • Difficulty in swallowing and talking.
    Blood shot eyes


    It’s essential to get treatment for RA as soon as possible.  Before these complications start or get worse.

    Good care could increase your probability of remission, and it can reduce joint damage and the experience of inflammation.  You need to work closely with your physical and occupational therapy and your GP to help you with a plan that will work for you.  When you have any queries about anything, you should consult your GP or paediatric rheumatology, and they will help you.

    I hope this article has helped you. Please subscribe to my website, and I will keep you updated on new blogs. Also, if you need to know anything about arthritis, please go to my contact page and leave a message, and I will get back to you.

    In the meantime, if this post is informative, I’d be very grateful if you’d help your friends or family if they have a similar condition to tell them. So please share it on Twitter or Facebook or send them an email.

    I am not a medical professional, and this blog is for information only. If you have any worries you should consult your doctor.

    I hope this blog has helped.


    More Information.




    Linda Rook

    Linda is now retired and has suffered from Osteoarthritis for about 40+ years.  She struggled with her weight until she found the correct one that also helped with her arthritic pain.  Linda was in terrible pain until the physician thought her right hip needed replacement. 

    Now Linda has an artificial right hip, which has left her with the left leg shorter than the right.  Therefore, her spine is now wonky, and has arthritis of the lower back, also it seems to be going all over the body, her pain is now in the knees, elbow, wrist, fingers and both hips.

    Linda now spends her days writing information to help others with the same conditions, so they do not suffer like Linda.

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