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Although rheumatoid arthritis primarily affects joints, it sometimes causes lung disease as well. Occasionally, lung problems surface before the joint inflammation and pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
Men in their 50s and 60s who have more active rheumatoid arthritis and a history of smoking are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis-related lung disease.
The lung problems most often linked to rheumatoid arthritis include:
Contact your doctor promptly if you have rheumatoid arthritis and experience any unexplained breathing problems. Sometimes treatment is aimed at the rheumatoid arthritis. In other cases, treatment involves medication to suppress the immune system or a procedure to remove fluid from the lungs.
April Chang-Miller, M.D.
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