Wednesday, November 07, 2007

its been awhile,,i've been extremely tired these past few days,, and UNABLE-god, that word! unable,,but- its whats up and i have done about nothing except sleep-
i became depressed about this;;;;;;;

Complications in Other Areas of the Body

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect other parts of the body as well as the joints. Some patients with severe disease may then be at higher risk for complications such as the following:

Peripheral Neuropathy. This condition affects the nerves, most often those in the hands and feet. It can result in tingling, numbness, or burning.
Scleritis. This is an inflammation of the blood vessels in the eye that could result in corneal damage.
Infections. RA patients have a higher risk for infections, particularly from some of the immune-suppressing drugs that they take.
Skin problems. Skin problems are common, particularly on the fingers and under the nails. Some patients develop severe skin complications that include rash, ulcers, blisters (which may bleed in some cases), lumps under the skin, and other problems. Severe skin disease can reflects a more serious case of RA in general.
Gastrointestinal Problems. Although patients may experience stomach and intestinal distress, one 2000 study reported lower rates of stomach and colorectal cancers among RA patients.
Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, a disorder in which bone density decreases, is more common than average in postmenopausal women with rheumatoid arthritis. The hipbone is particularly affected. The risk for osteoporosis also appears to be higher than average in men with RA who are over 60 years old.
Lung Disease. One small study found a very high prevalence of lung disease in newly diagnosed RA patients. The association between a history of smoking and a higher risk for RA, however, may at least partially account for this finding. (Cigarette smoking, in any case, may increase the severity of the disease.)
Heart Disease. Mounting evidence suggests that RA can increase the risk for heart disease, possibly because of the inflammatory response in RA, which may also injure arteries and heart muscle tissue. Some studies have reported that people with RA are 30% to 50% more likely to suffer heart vessel blockages and 60% to 70% more likely to die as result than people without RA. A smaller British study confirmed that about half of RA patients are likely to have silent symptoms of heart disease, and that it tends to develop about 10 years earlier than in people without RA.
Lymphoma and Other Cancers. Alterations in the immune system associated with RA and certain treatments may play a role in the higher risk for lymphoma observed in RA patients. A higher risk for lymphoma and blood cancers may also occur in patients who were given total lymphoid irradiation, an RA therapy used mainly in the 1980s when other therapies failed. Aggressive treatments for RA that suppress the immune system may help prevent such cancers, but more research will be needed to evaluate this possibility. Other cancers that may occur with increased frequency in RA patients include prostate and lung cancers.
Periodontal Disease. People with RA may be twice as likely as non-arthritic individuals to have periodontal disease. Chronic inflammation and immune dysfunction are central to both diseases

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