The effects of RA inflammation extend beyond the joints. The signs and symptoms of RA and associated disorders can be felt throughout the body, including the ears, eyes, skin, lungs, and heart. The following are nine uncommon symptoms that may be related to your rheumatoid arthritis.
1. Hearing Problems
Hearing loss and tinnitus (continuous ringing, buzzing, or whistling in the ears) have been associated with rheumatoid arthritis, according to research. Hearing issues are more common in older adults who have had rheumatoid arthritis for a long time.
Many experts believe that RA may lead to hearing difficulties in the following ways:
- Rheumatoid arthritis inflammation can cause damage to the ear’s small joints.
- Inside the ear, a rheumatoid nodule might form.
- Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and hydroxychloroquine, which are used to treat RA symptoms, can occasionally cause tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
- Other disease processes may have an impact on the auditory nerves or cochlear hair cells in the ear, which are required for hearing.
Some hearing impairments are reversible (for example, stopping NSAIDs may help), while others are permanent. Even if hearing alterations are irreversible, actions can be taken to prevent or decrease future hearing loss.
According to research, there is a strong link between rheumatoid arthritis and sleep apnea, which causes breathing to stop and start periodically throughout sleep. Symptoms include loud snoring, disruptions in breathing, and/or gasping for air during sleep.
Sleep apnea can also induce headaches and contribute to persistent weariness since the body consumes less oxygen at night.
Sleep apnea may be diagnosed and treated. CPAP therapy generally consists of utilizing a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or another treatment device to enhance oxygen intake during sleep.
3. Skin Irritations
When RA inflammation affects the blood vessels (Rheumatoid Vasculitis/Vasculitis), it can result in a number of issues, including skin rashes. These rashes can show on the skin as clusters of dark red or purple pimples, hives, or irregularly shaped raised pink areas. Changes in skin tone may be less evident on darker skin.
Rashes associated with vasculitis can appear everywhere, although they are most prevalent on the lower legs. These rashes can be irritating, unpleasant, or burning.
Furthermore, biologics used to treat RA raise the risk of rashes and other skin problems, such as skin infections.
If you have a rash that has lasted more than two weeks, is uncomfortable, or seems infectious, you should see your doctor. Any rash that is chronic, severe, or accompanied by signs of vasculitis in other parts of the body, such as the lungs, heart, kidneys, or eyes, should be treated medically.
4. Difficulties Breathing, a Persistent Cough, or Chest Pains
Rheumatoid arthritis frequently affects the lungs, especially if the disease is long-standing and poorly controlled.
Shortness of breath combined with a chronic cough, weariness, and/or weakness may indicate scarring produced by chronic pulmonary inflammation. Shortness of breath combined with fever and/or chest discomfort during breathing might indicate fluid buildup around the lungs (pleural effusion). Lung scarring and pleural effusion are both significant disorders that require medical care.
5. Temporary Numbness in the Fingers or Toes
Raynaud Syndrome, also known as Raynaud Phenomenon or Raynaud Illness, is made more likely by rheumatoid arthritis. This disorder results in the loss of blood circulation to one or more fingers or toes. The afflicted region may become numb and will seem paler, whiter, or blueish. There is usually a clear distinction between this region and normal-colored tissue.
Cold exposure, emotions, and some drugs can all cause Raynaud’s Syndrome. An episode might last seconds or hours. Warm compresses, baths, or showers may help to increase blood flow. If the symptoms persist, medical intervention may be required to avoid tissue damage.
Periodontal Disease 6
Gum inflammation (gingivitis) and gum disease are connected with rheumatoid arthritis (periodontitis). Both of these disorders have been related to an increase in RA symptoms and can result in gum damage and tooth loss.
Regular dental examinations and adequate home oral hygiene can help improve oral health and alleviate rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, including joint soreness and swelling.
7. An Increase in the Fat-to-Lean Mass Ratio (i.e.,
People with RA have a greater fat-to-lean mass ratio than those who do not have it. This distinction holds true even for those whose weights are within the usual range. Experts are baffled as to why.
Strengthening activities can assist in compensating for muscle loss. Losing extra weight, if relevant, may lower rheumatoid arthritis disease activity and hence symptoms. The combination of muscle training and weight loss will benefit joint health and may minimize RA symptoms.
8: Bloodshot Eyes
While virtually everyone has sometimes irritated, red eyes, eye redness that is regular, chronic, and/or severe may be an indication of an RA-related medical issue. Eye disorders can be transient or permanent, causing symptoms such as discomfort, sensitivity to light, wetness, or inflammation.
Eye disorders, including changes in vision, should be reported to a health care practitioner as soon as possible.
9. Tingling or Numbness
Numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, or other parts of the body might be caused by a damaged or pinched nerve. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause nerve damage in several ways.
- A nerve gets squeezed as a result of swelling joint tissues (for example, carpal tunnel syndrome can result from swollen joints in the wrist).
- Vasculitis caused by RA impairs blood flow and damages nerves.
- Certain RA drugs may also induce numbness and tingling feelings as adverse effects.
While not necessarily unpleasant, numbness and tingling should be reported to a doctor. Addressing the underlying cause may help prevent nerve issues from worsening or becoming chronic.
Rheumatoid arthritis is not usually associated with new or uncommon symptoms. Contact your doctor to determine the source of any unusual symptoms and to discuss treatment options.