Do You Have More Than Rheumatoid Arthritis?
When you have RA, you're more likely to have certain other conditions. You and your doctor can work together to treat them. Use this list to know what symptoms to look for and why they happen.
If you have this condition, you don’t have enough red blood cells. Their job is to carry oxygen to all parts of your body. Many people with RA have it, and it can be treated.
People with anemia sometimes also have pale skin, brittle nails, cold hands and feet, chest pain, or an irregular heartbeat. Or you may not have any symptoms at all.
Treatment: When someone with RA has anemia, the first step is to lower inflammation and get the RA under control. You may also need to take iron supplements if you're low on iron.
You can also get anemia from blood loss. Some RA medications can irritate your stomach and cause it. Your doctor will look for and treat the cause.
People with RA are more likely than others to get heart disease or have a stroke. Doctors aren’t sure why. It may be related to inflammation.
Symptoms: Heart disease doesn't always show symptoms before a crisis (like a heart attack or stroke) happens. You may have chest pain after you’re active. Your doctor can check your cholesterol, blood pressure, and other things that can help predict illness.
Treatment: If you have heart disease, your doctor will talk with you about your diet, exercise, weight, and stress. If you smoke, quit. Your doctor can give you advice to help with that. She may also prescribe drugs that lower cholesterol or blood pressure.
Eye Problems: Sjogren’s Syndrome
This condition affects the glands that make tears and saliva. It's related to inflammation.
Symptoms: For people with RA, the most common symptom of Sjogren's is dry eyes and mouth. It can also show up as dry skin, dry coughing, and vaginal dryness.
Treatment: Artificial tears are the usual treatment for dry eyes. Some people may need special eye lubricants. Severe cases may require medications to tame the inflammation.
If you have dry mouth, sip water often. Suck on sugarless candies so your body will make more saliva. If your case is severe, you may need medicine for it.