Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and skin complications range from mild to severe, causing lesions. Although rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the joints, it can also include organs and skin. Many rheumatoid arthritis patients will experience skin manifestations, and the symptoms can vary greatly. On the hard side, skin complications can even lead to damage. In this article, we consider rheumatoid arthritis skin manifestations.

Rheumatoid arthritis skin manifestations 

Rheumatoid nodule.

About 10 to 40 percent of patients will develop nodules that can vary in size and are usually found on extensor surfaces (skin on the opposite side of the joint). Nodes are fairly common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but some factors may increase the risk of developing them, such as a positive test for rheumatoid factor and smoking. Most nodules are asymptomatic, meaning they do not require treatment, but for nodules that interfere with physical function, injections or surgical removal may be required.

Rheumatoid nodule.

              Rheumatoid nodule.

The treatment for rheumatoid nodules is usually the same as for rheumatoid arthritis – basic drugs (antirheumatic drugs that modify the disease). These drugs can help reduce the size of rheumatoid nodules, but if patients take methotrexate (a type of basic drug), the nodules can actually grow in size. Some patients undergo steroid injections, but in cases where the nodules become infected, they may need to be removed.

What causes rheumatoid vasculitis and how to treat it

Lower limb ulcers are less frequent than nodules and occur in nine percent of patients, but rates are reduced due to advances in therapy. The ulcers that develop in patients with rheumatoid arthritis can be persistent and chronic, and many of them do not heal well even with the right treatment. Factors that affect ulcers in rheumatoid arthritis include poor blood supply, repeated pressure or trauma to the affected areas, and rheumatoid vasculitis.

Rheumatoid vasculitis – an inflammation of the blood vessels – is a serious disease, but in fact, it is quite unusual, with a norm of 0.1 to 5 percent. This usually occurs 10 to 15 years after the diagnosis of the disease and is observed in the vessels of the small and medium blood vessels. Symptoms include nail bed papules, purple spots, rashes, and bruises. More serious complications of rheumatoid vasculitis include ulcers, purulent necrotic lesions, and gangrene. 

Rheumatoid vasculitis can be treated in various ways, depending on which organs are affected and the size of the blood vessels. In some cases, rheumatoid vasculitis can be treated with an anesthetic cream. In addition, there is insufficient evidence to recommend a type of medication for the treatment of rheumatoid vasculitis, as there may be undesirable side effects.

There are other skin conditions that can affect patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Including pyoderma gangrenosum, Sweet’s syndrome, rheumatoid neutrophilic dermatosis, subcutaneous purulent dermatosis, and palisade neutrophilic granulomatous dermatitis. They include inflammatory lesions characterized by massive neutrophil infiltration in the absence of infection. Lesions can range from asymptomatic and self-resolving to outbreaks, accompanied by pain and fever.

Rheumatoid arthritis skin manifestations

Rheumatoid arthritis and side effects of the drug

There are drugs for the specific treatment of skin complications of rheumatoid arthritis. Such as methotrexate, non-biological basic drugs (antirheumatic drugs that modify the disease) and inhibitors of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF). Unfortunately, although these drugs can treat skin complications, they also bring side effects and other complications. First, the use of TNF inhibitors can be associated with the development of psoriasis, as well as along with effects at the injection site, infusion reactions, skin infections, eczema, lupus, vasculitis, the release of lichenoid drugs, and granulomatous reactions.

Patients also have an increased risk of developing skin cancer, and TNF inhibitors can further increase this risk. But research is still at the final conclusion stage.

Other side effects of the medications include a skin rash, light bruising, and sensitivity to the sun. Talk with your doctor about any side effects that may occur while taking medications for rheumatoid arthritis skin manifestations.

see also :

Proper nutrition for rheumatoid arthritis


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