Living with a chronic illness, such as arthritis, means that you may experience other conditions or illnesses. Medical experts call it Concomitant diseases of rheumatoid arthritis or concomitant conditions. It’s important to understand how arthritis can affect you and find proactive strategies to address concurrent health problems.

The most common concomitant conditions are:

  • Chronic respiratory diseases.
  • Diabetes.
  • Heart disease.
  • Stroke.

Associated conditions affecting mental health are often ignored. There is research conducted around arthritis, depression, and arthritis and anxiety.  Early signs of RA.

Concomitant diseases of rheumatoid arthritis

Chronic respiratory disease

In addition to the joints and heart, the lungs are part of the body most often affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The medical complications associated with RA can be serious and even fatal, but often do not cause any symptoms. A diagnosis of lung disease in patients with RA can be difficult because the symptoms of lung problems overlap with the symptoms of heart disease.

How RA can affect your respiratory system:

Rheumatoid arthritis-related interstitial lung disease (IBL) is the most serious and most common lung complication in people with RA. It is estimated that one in 10 people with RA develop IBL. This refers to a group of lung diseases marked by inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue, which is caused by an immune system that attacks the lungs. As scarring becomes more severe, it can affect breathing and lead to shortness of breath and dry cough. Unfortunately, IPL has a high mortality rate – it is fatal among people with RA as congestive heart failure, since there is currently no effective treatment.  Sleep with rheumatoid arthritis .

Rheumatoid nodules can occur in the lungs of patients with RA.

Pulmonary fibrosis, permanent scarring of the lungs, another condition of the lungs caused by inflammation, and is often associated with IBL. As healthy air sacs are replaced with scar tissue, breathing becomes difficult. Oxygen therapy can ease breathing, but it cannot reverse the damage caused by scarring. Methotrexate can cause pulmonary fibrosis, so people taking this drug should carefully monitor their lung diseases.

Pleurisy is an inflammation of the lining of the lungs called pleura. This occurs in more than half of all people with RA and can make breathing painful. Pleurisy is another concomitant disease of rheumatoid arthritis. It is important to try to prevent RA – associated lung disease due to its high risk of complications.

The most important thing you can do is avoid smoking or if you smoke, see your doctor for help and make sure you check regularly so your doctor can listen to your lungs and control your breathing. If you have RA and are experiencing shortness of breath, coughing, or other respiratory symptoms, seek medical help faster.

Concomitant Diseases of Rheumatoid Arthritis – Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when the body is not able to produce or use hormonal insulin sufficiently. Insulin turns the sugars we get from food into energy. Like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), diabetes is an autoimmune disease. In the case of diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the pancreatic cells that make insulin.

Of the 52 million adults with arthritis, 16 percent have type 2 diabetes, and 47 percent of adults with diabetes have arthritis. We know that people with diabetes are almost twice as likely to suffer from arthritis, but why? Studies show a link between diabetes and arthritis, although the exact nature of this link is unclear.

One theory suggests that ongoing inflammation, which is a hallmark of RA, may play a role in the development of diabetes. This is due to the known association between inflammation and an increased risk of insulin resistance. Indeed, insulin resistance tends to increase in RA, and inflammatory marker levels tend to be high in both people with RA and people with diabetes. Another theory is that people with RA and other forms of arthritis are generally more sedentary (and a sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity, a known risk factor for diabetes). If true, this may explain the increased risk of developing diabetes in people with arthritis.  Causes of autoimmune diseases .

One of the drugs often used for arthritis can also play a role, as it is well known that steroids can increase the risk of developing diabetes. However, studies show that other drugs for RA can reduce the risk of developing diabetes: anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. It is commonly used to treat moderate RA and is associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes among people with RA, although it is not clear why this is so. Other RA drugs, known as TNF blockers and methotrexate, have been shown to improve insulin resistance and reduce the risk of diabetes, but more research is needed.

For people with RA who may be concerned about diabetes, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes exercise, eating a healthy diet that contains some proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and non-starchy vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking. These options not only help manage RA; they are also important in reducing the risk of diabetes. Concomitant diseases of rheumatoid arthritis – psychological health.

Mental health

Concomitant diseases of rheumatoid arthritis. Anxiety and depression are common among people with arthritis. One study found that people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are twice as likely to suffer from depression than those who do not have RA. We know that up to 40 percent of people with RA have significant symptoms of depression, and according to the CDC, one out of three adults with arthritis also has anxiety or depression. This is not surprising given the chronic pain and physical limitations that often arise with RA. However, many people do not realize that depression can actually aggravate arthritis pain. One 2011 study showed that in people with osteoarthritis, depression can have the same effect on knee pain as physical damage to the joints.

One of the reasons for the relationship between pain and depression is related to lifestyle changes that can be caused by depression and which can increase pain. These include poor sleep, lack of exercise, and decreased communication. Another theory suggests that if you are depressed, you are less able to cope with chronic pain and may perceive your condition more negatively than those who are not depressed. There are also biological factors shared by both depression and chronic pain – in particular, the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. Which can cause the brain to register more pain from certain stimuli, such as stiff joints, in people with depression.

Anxiety can be as big a problem for arthritis as depression. In fact, a CDC study found that anxiety was even more common in patients with RA than depression. People with arthritis may worry about their pain and disability or worry that they will not be able to work, take care of their families or perform other daily tasks in the future. People with arthritis can also hesitate to go out and engage in activities such as exercise or social functions that can increase feelings of anxiety.

Anxiety and depression not only contribute to arthritis pain but can also lead to a deterioration in health and a decrease in the effectiveness of treatment. Studies show that people with RA who also have ongoing anxiety or depression have reduced the likelihood of achieving remission of RA in two years.  How to treat rheumatoid nodules ?

Unfortunately, mental health problems in people with arthritis are underestimated, because many patients do not feel comfortable talking about mental health symptoms to their doctor, and often doctors do not ask. If you experience depression or anxiety, it is important to talk with your doctor so that you can get the best treatment for you.

Concomitant Diseases of Rheumatoid Arthritis – Heart Disease

Heart disease is a term that includes a heart attack, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and if you have RA, you have a two-fold increased risk of heart attack and stroke. For people who have had RA for 10 years or more, the risk increases almost three times.

However, the risk is not limited to RA. One of the earliest findings of a link between heart disease and osteoarthritis (OA) appeared in 2003. When the study found that men with OA in only one finger joint were 42% more likely to die from heart disease versus men without OA.

The cause of the increased risk of heart disease in patients with arthritis, as in the case of other concomitant arthritis conditions, is inflammation. Inflammation, regardless of its source, is a known risk factor for heart disease. The inflammation associated with RA constricts the blood vessels and leads to the formation of plaques inside the arteries. Inflammation can also change the walls of blood vessels, making the plaque inside the vessels more prone to rupture, which can also cause a heart attack. As for osteoarthritis, although the disease itself is not inflammatory, the damage it causes to the joints can lead to inflammation.  Physical activity in RA .

However, inflammation of arthritis does not work alone. There are other independent risk factors for heart disease that can be changed or controlled. Such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, inactivity, obesity, and diabetes. Unfortunately, these risk factors tend to go hand in hand with arthritis: CDC says 52 percent of people with diabetes have arthritis, 53 percent have arthritis, which has high blood pressure, 66 percent have arthritis and are overweight and about one in five people with arthritis are smokers.

Although it is known that high cholesterol is associated with a higher risk of heart disease in all. Cholesterol levels are more prone to instability in people with higher levels of inflammation and the activity of RA disease. This can lead to an even greater risk of heart attack for people with RA. In addition, some of the drugs used for arthritis, such as prednisone, tocilizumab, and NSAIDs, seem to increase the risk of heart disease. While other arthritis drugs offer the benefits of heart protection (including TNF inhibitors, methotrexate, and hydroxychloroquine).

It can be difficult for doctors to assess the risk of heart disease in people with RA. For example, if someone has a high level of inflammation, their cholesterol level may decrease, and low cholesterol levels may cause the doctor to think that the person does not have a high risk of heart problems. However, experts say it is imperative to gain control of the RA as soon as possible after diagnosis. And to evaluate the risk factors for heart disease when a patient is diagnosed with RA to prevent further cardiovascular damage. Exercising, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining inflammation throughout your body can reduce your risk of heart disease.  Glucocorticoids for rheumatoid arthritis.

Concomitant diseases of rheumatoid arthritis – stroke

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and includes concomitant diseases of rheumatoid arthritis. Each year, 800,000 people have a new or recurrent stroke. Contrary to popular belief, stroke does not only happen to older people. Any person can have a stroke that occurs when the blood flow to the area of ​​the brain decreases or is interrupted, causing brain cells to die. This is either due to a blood clot blocking the bloodstream or blood vessel, or rupture of a blood vessel.

Symptoms of a stroke may include intermittent speech, confusion, paralysis or numbness of the face, arms or legs, sudden severe headache, discomfort in one or both eyes, and difficulty walking. Depending on how severe the stroke is, a person may have mild problems such as the temporary weakness of one of their limbs. Or more serious permanent effects, such as paralysis on one side of the body or loss of ability to speak. More than two-thirds of people with stroke have some form of permanent disability.

Along with a heart attack, stroke is the cause of many premature deaths in people with RA. One study found that people with RA have a 67 percent higher risk of stroke than those who don’t. Although it remains unclear how arthritis is an independent risk factor for stroke. Like heart disease, some studies show that inflammation, including the type associated with arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, increases the risk of stroke in humans.  What is the difference between osteoarthritis and RA .

Additional risk factors for stroke include high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, and carotid artery disease. In these carotid arteries on the neck that supply blood to the brain, narrowing occurs due to buildup of plaque. If someone from RA has any of these other conditions, the risk of stroke becomes even higher.

People with RA should take care to reduce the risk of stroke. As well as all forms of heart disease, referring to risk factors that they can control. This is not to smoke and lose weight, work to achieve healthy cholesterol levels, not to take a balanced diet and exercise. Concomitant diseases of rheumatoid arthritis see above.


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