You probably know all about the swelling and pain in your joints that comes and goes when you have rheumatoid arthritis. But you should not neglect unusual symptoms that show up on other parts of your body. They could be symptoms of major complications or side effects of medicine you take.
Watch out for these 5 problems, and call your doctor if you find them.
Some RA drugs, such as biologic, affect the immune system, your body’s defense against germs. You may not be able to fight off illnesses as easily as you used to.
That’s why you need to be on the lookout for a fever. It could signal something serious, “either very active disease or an infection,” says Catherine MacLean, MD, PhD, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Infections can get worse quickly if you’re taking medication that keeps your immune system from working, she says, so it’s important to get treatment quickly.
Rheumatoid arthritis raises your chances of ulcers, stomach bleeding, and conditions such as colitis and diverticulitis. This may be because of inflammation from RA or because of side effects from medications like non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or cortico steroids.
You’re also more likely to have constipation or diarrhea, which could be a warning sign that the amount of good and bad bacteria in your intestine is out of balance.
3. Broken Bones
Some RA meds can trigger bone loss, which raises your risk of fractures. Your bones may also become weaker if you avoid exercise and physical activity.
A broken bone may be a clue that you’re developing osteoporosis, a disease that causes your bones to get thinner. It can be treated once you’re tested and diagnosed.
4. Breathing Trouble
If you have RA you’re at a higher risk for scarring of the tissues in the lungs. So see your doctor right away if you have a cough that won’t go away or you’re short of breath during normal activities.
5. Chest Pains
A 2015 study by Jeffrey Sparks, MD, a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and his colleagues, found that people with RA are more likely to die from heart-related problems than those without the disease. “Chest pain, especially with activity, should be monitored by a physician,” he says. “Our hope is that we can turn back the clock before patients develop these full-blown conditions.”
Overall, about 40% of people with rheumatoid arthritis have symptoms in areas on their body besides joints, MacLean says, like their skin, muscles, bones, eyes, and lungs. If you have mild symptoms that have developed slowly, tell your doctor about them during your next visit. Make an appointment right away if you’ve had any sudden or serious changes in the way you feel or how you respond to treatment.
Source – WebMD