Generally, people associate rheumatoid arthritis with painful inflammation of the joints, but this is only one of the primary rheumatology symptoms. However, it affects other body parts including eyes, heart and lungs in advanced cases. This is because the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues resulting in more severe conditions and side-effects if left untreated. Moreover, it must be kept in mind that the primary symptoms such as low energy levels, inflammation around lungs and fever come slowly over the course of weeks or months. Therefore, read ahead to make an overview of Rheumatism.
Skeleton and Joints
As mentioned in the introduction, in RA the immune cells attack healthy tissues and hence it also attacks the cartilages causing them to disintegrate. Due to this the bones rub against each other, permanently damaging the joints and cause severe pain along with stiffness in advanced cases because cartilages prevent the rubbing of bones. Moreover, in severe cases the bones lose density becoming thinner and brittle, increasing the risk of fractures. Therefore, Rheumatoid Arthritis is a very serious condition for older people as well as in juvenile cases.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can affect any joint in the body, but it usually develops in the hands, feet and fingers. Besides, it also affects the knees, hips, spine, shoulders, ankles, neck and vertebrates because it targets the lining of joints called synovium resulting in its swelling. Hence, it causes the joints to be stiff and painful resulting in the loss of mobility. Therefore, one of the primary symptoms of RA is joint pain and stiffness in the morning.
Eyes and Mouth
Eyes being one of the delicate organs, RA can cause inflammation along with dry eye syndrome that leads to constant severe irritation finally damaging the cornea. Hence, some of the effects of rheumatism in the eyes are glaucoma, inflammation of the inner eye, inflammation of whites in the eye and cataracts due to inflammation of the optic nerve.
RA causes narrowing of the salivary ducts and in some cases their closure causing dry mouth resulting in difficulty to eat and swallow. Moreover, it also increases the risk for developing Sjogren’s syndrome that causes eyes and mouth dryness and in some cases, chronic dry mouth results in tooth decay and gingivitis.
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause red patches, lesions or swelling on the skin because of its auto-immune nature. Moreover, people suffering from it will also notice slower wound healing and it can be due to inflammation of smaller blood vessels on the skin surface due to vasculitis.
There are more symptoms due to RA which are beyond the scope of this article and the experience varies from person to person. However, it is fortunate there are many advanced rheumatology treatments available.