As we know that rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the synovial joints only. As the disease progresses, it known for affecting the other organs like heart, lungs, kidney, eyes, etc. The most affected organ in this disease is the lungs. Rheumatoid arthritis is known for affecting the whole body of a patient. Women are more prone to have this disease. Rheumatoid arthritis in lungs could cause several disease and some fatal effects. It can cause several lung diseases like interstitial lung disease, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Nodules, and other lung complications
Interstitial Lung Disease
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause interstitial lung disease or R A-I L D. Patients with this disease suffer from various lungs complication. The symptoms of this disease are hard to detect, but some sort of inflammation is seen in the lung tissue and they are eventually scared. The male population of the society is more affected with this disease. Person who smokes tends to increase this disease but it can cause the non smokers too. R A –I L D shows no as such symptoms and the detection of the disease becomes very difficult in the initial stage. Some symptoms that few patients may grow are dry cough, breathlessness, etc. As diagnosing in the early stage is very difficult, its treatment too is very difficult. But according to some research rituximab drug is used for its treatment.
Due to the Inflammation that is caused by R A-I L D can even cause pulmonary fibrosis. It is nothing but permanent scarring of the tissues that are related to respiration. The symptoms of this disease can be shortness of the breadth, due to the scar tissues that is formed by inflammation. Some drugs called N S A I D s and D M A R D s like methotrexate, Rheumatrex, and Trexall cause this disease of lung called Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Formation of Nodules
Nodules are also formed in the throat especially in the vocal cord due to rheumatoid arthritis, causing some complication such as hoarseness in the voice and some other changes related to that. But the formation of nodules in the lungs is not noticed as it cannot be diagnosed in the early stage.
Other Complications due to rheumatoid arthritis in lungs
Nearly 50 percent of the people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis damage the lining of the lungs or the pleura. This shows no symptoms but in rare cases some can be observed. Due to this lining of the lungs some problems like Pleurisy and Effusions can be observed.
- Pleurisy- This condition can be caused due to inflammation of the tissues in pleura. This condition can create some problem in chest while breathing.
- Effusions- this condition is caused when fluids builds in the space of pleura, around the lungs. This condition can create cough that is persistent in nature, breadth shortness, and sometimes led the lungs to collapse.
Treatment or prevention
Rheumatoid arthritis is incurable in nature, so the treatment involves its decrease in progression and providing the patient with some sort of relief. Quitting smoking and having regular checkups is the only way to prevent rheumatoid arthritis in lungs.