As the spotlight grows on Rheumatoid Arthritis over the past several years, researchers have wondered if there is a correlation between this autoimmune disease and chronic lung disease.
Does the lack of oxygen in the bloodstream caused by chronic lung conditions lead to the development of RA, or are the two separate conditions?
To understand what researchers have found, you must first understand the impact that both Rheumatoid Arthritis and chronic lung diseases such as COPD have on the body.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is classified as an autoimmune disease because it causes the body’s immune system to attack the joints of the body. While the cause of the disease is still unknown, RA classifies the body’s tissues as bacteria or viruses, causing it’s antibodies to attack.
As a result, the tissues in the joints become swollen and painful, and sometimes stiff due to the constant attack.
Some facts about Rheumatoid Arthritis include:
- Approximately 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Women are more likely to be diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis than men.
- The risk of a heart attack increases 60 percent one year after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis can impact the lungs and cause the development of inflammation within the lung walls.
So, Rheumatoid Arthritis and chronic lung disease are connected
If the Rheumatoid Arthritis decides to attack the tissue within the lungs, it could lead to inflammation and scar tissue development, both of which could lead to shortness of breath and other symptoms associated with chronic lung disease.
What to do if you develop a chronic lung disease
Much like Rheumatoid Arthritis, there is no cure for chronic lung conditions. However, there are many treatment options available to help relieve your symptoms.
To learn more about the treatment available, contact your doctor and find the best option for you.
Christine Kingsley, APRN is the Health and Wellness Director at the Lung Institute where she focuses on providing helpful online resources for people looking for information on various lung diseases, breathing exercises, and healthy lifestyle choices. She advocates for holistic care that involves working with your doctor to explore all options including traditional and alternative care while focusing on diet and exercise as proactive measures.