By Dr. Suman Kumar Nag, Orthopaedics
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation of the joints. It also affects other organs of your body such as lungs, eyes, heart and skin. It occurs when your immune system attacks the tissues in your body. Following are the causes and complications of rheumatoid arthritis:
Causes of rheumatoid arthritis
1. Rheumatoid arthritis can happen when your immune system starts attacking the synovium; which is the lining of the membrane that encloses the joints.
2. Some studies also suggest that environmental factors such as certain bacteria and viruses along with genetic factors can induce rheumatoid arthritis.
Complications associated to arthritis:
1. Osteoporosis The condition itself along with the medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis can expose you to the threat of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disorder characterized by weakening of your bones.
2. Rheumatoid nodules These are basically formation of tissues which can occur in pressure points such as the elbows and sometimes even in the lungs.
3. Dry eyes and mouth Most of the times, people who suffer from this condition develop Jorgen’s syndrome, a disorder that significantly reduces the amount of moisture in the mouth and eyes.
4. Heart problems Rheumatoid arthritis can trigger hardening or blockage of the arteries in the heart. It also causes inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart.
5. Lung disease People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis have a high risk of scarring as well as inflammation of the tissues present in the lungs. Scarring and inflammation of the lung tissue can lead to breathing disorders such as shortness or difficulty in breathing.
6. Lymphoma Rheumatoid arthritis also increases the threat of developing lymphoma which is a group of cancers that occur in the lymph system.