Rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of developing other health problems.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.

Rheumatoid arthritis can also make it more likely for you to develop:

  • Osteoporosis. Rheumatoid arthritis itself, along with some medications used for treating rheumatoid arthritis, can increase your risk of osteoporosis — a condition that weakens your bones and makes them more prone to fracture.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. If rheumatoid arthritis affects your wrists, the inflammation can compress the nerve that serves most of your hand and fingers.
  • Heart problems. Rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of hardened and blocked arteries, as well as inflammation of the sac that encloses your heart.
  • Lung disease. People with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of inflammation and scarring of the lung tissues, which can lead to progressive shortness of breath.
Mar. 29, 2014