Does RA Have Serious Complications?
It can. Side effects from rheumatoid arthritis are manifestations of the condition itself and come in two varieties: those from untreated or undertreated RA, and those caused by joint damage. Common complications of RA include:
- Heart Disease. It affects more than half of all people with RA.
- Rheumatoid nodules, which occur in 30% to 40% of RA patients and are more bothersome than painful.
- Osteoporosis-related fractures. These are 25% to 30% more common in people with RA than the general population.
- Infections (flu, staph, pneumonia). They’re twice as common in people with RA.
- Lung Disease. It develops in nearly one-fourth of RA patients.
- Dry Eye. This is the most common eye complaint for people with RA.
About 10% of people diagnosed with RA (and diligently treated) experience complete remission within one year, and roughly 40% go into remission within two years. That’s thanks to significant advances in treatment over the past two decades.
This is exactly why it’s so critical not to ignore symptoms—or to put off getting help. If the disease progresses and is not treated, that’s when the worst side effects can occur: severely restricted range of motion or, worse, gradual destruction of the joints. The inflammatory process slows down as fibrous tissue forms or bones fuse, and joints stop functioning altogether.
While there is no known way to keep from getting rheumatoid arthritis, there are plenty of steps you can take to prevent complications and feel better overall. If you have not gone into remission after two years, you are not following a healthy lifestyle as written below.
- Quit smoking. A Swedish study of 34,101 women reported that even light cigarette smoking is associated with increased risk of RA in women and that quitting (or not starting at all) may reduce the risk.
- Maintain a healthy weight to ease pressure on your joints. If you are overweight, you may want to consider a weight-loss plan, as excess pounds can put unnecessary stress on your joints. Consider working with a dietitian to help build a personalized diet or program that targets your specific goals (i.e. less sugar and more omega-3 fatty acids/fish) for managing your RA.
- Eat a healthy diet. Anti inflammatory diet for RA if a must, aim to avoid foods that cause inflammation, like processed food, quick fast food , packaged snacks,and include foods that promote bone health and immune function. No dairy, white flour, white sugar or anything with OSE in the ingredients. No glucose, fructose or dextrose.
- Start or keep up with an exercise routine. Research shows that exercise can help alleviate RA symptoms and even improve day-to-day functioning. It can also make you more flexible, help you sleep better, and boost your endurance. Every morning you should start the day with the same stretching routine. Touch those toes more times each day. You can find many great exercises online that you do every morning. These are different than the light weight lifting and aerobic exercises at a gym. You actually do not need to ever go to a gym. Do not work with a trainer who is not a therapeutic physical therapist associated with a hospital.
VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS
Please work with someone who is trained to deal with supplements on a patient to patient basis. No two people are the same, and should not be treated as the same. Men and women would definitely have different supplements recommended for them. Always ask ” What supplements would you recommend for my spouse?” If they say the same ones, WRONG!
We are in this Together!-
-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-
Health and Wellness Associates
REVIEWED BY DR R Ryan