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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Complications

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Susceptibility to Infection

People with RA are more prone to infections, which may be related to the underlying disease itself or the immune-suppressing medications used to treat it. Studies show that treatment with biologic agents, a relatively new and effective class of RA treatment, may greatly increase the risk of serious infections in people with RA.

Emotional Effects

Living day to day with the pain and limitations of a chronic disease can take a toll on your emotional as well as physical health. One recent study showed that almost 11% of people with RA had moderately severe to severe symptoms of depression. Those who were rated as being more restricted in their normal activities were significantly more likely to have depression. The study also showed that only one in five patients who showed symptoms of depression discussed it with their arthritis doctor.

Protect Yourself From RA Complications

Although you may not think to mention problems like depression, chest pain, or dry eyes to the doctor treating your rheumatoid arthritis, it's important that you do so. All of these problems can be related to your arthritis. Although different problems may require different doctors and/or different treatments, often a change in arthritis treatment -- either to better control the disease or to eliminate the side effects of a certain treatment -- can be an important step in managing or resolving all of these problems.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on February 11, 2014
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