Advertisement

How does rheumatoid arthritis impact the internal organs?

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect many organs. For example, it can affect the parenchyma (the "meat") of the lungs resulting in less gas exchange and elasticity, increasing hardening of the arteries which can lead to increased susceptibility to atherosclerosis (which leads to cardiovascular disease), stiffness of the upper cervical spine especially C2 which can lead to increased risk of fracture and possible paralysis during procedures like general anesthesia when one is intubated with a breathing tube, inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) which can affect organs all over the body, inflammation & swelling of the heart's outer wall (pericarditis) causing chest pain and decreased cardiac output and efficiency, swelling/inflammation of the heart muscle itself (myocarditis) leading to heart failure, and abnormal bone growth noticeably in the fingers leading to ulnar deviation in which the fingers now permanently point towards the pinky instead of straight out. These and other complications can be mitigated by medication, follow-up, and exercise. 

Continue Learning about Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Doctor Visit Guide: Getting Started
Rheumatoid Arthritis Doctor Visit Guide: Getting Started
If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it may affect many areas of your life. RA causes joint pain and fatigue, makes daily tasks difficult, and can t...
Read More
How is heart disease related to rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed?
Angela SpiresAngela Spires
In addition to problems with joints, rheumatoid arthritis can have multiple related conditions, such...
More Answers
Get to Know Rheumatoid Arthritis
Get to Know Rheumatoid ArthritisGet to Know Rheumatoid ArthritisGet to Know Rheumatoid ArthritisGet to Know Rheumatoid Arthritis
How Do Steroids Impact Rheumatoid Arthritis?
How Do Steroids Impact Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.